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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Get Back to Corpus, Stephen Goff

Earlier this summer, Stephen Goff with interviewed a number of Corpus Christi Hooks players.

With all the movement in the system, it is time for Goff to return to Whataburger Field. Since he was there, Kody Hinze has been called up from Lancaster and Henry Sosa, Jason Stoffel, Jarred Cosart, Josh Zeid have been added via trade. In addition, it looks likely that Paul Clemens and/or Brett Oberholtzer acquired for Michael Bourn could be headed for Corpus Christi.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Two Big League lefties get game started, Guy from Lamar Saves it for GCL Astros

Two left-handers with major league experience got the GCL Astros game started on Friday; however, a 23-year old from Lamar University finished it to get his fourth save. Ryan Rowland-Smith (three innings) and Fernando Abad (one inning) made rehab appearances in Florida to start the game against the GCL Nationals.

Long after Rowland-Smith and Abad had left the scene, Blake Ford pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings to complete the victory for the Astros' Gulf Coast League entry. Ford, who Houston drafted in the 44th Round of last month's draft, has appeared in 11 games and posted a 1.93 ERA in 14 innings. He has saved four of the GCL Astros' 10 wins this season.

Birthday Boy Van Hekken Starts for RedHawks Tonight

Left-hander Andy Van Hekken makes his 12th start of the season and his final start before his 32nd birthday tonight for Oklahoma City. Van Hekken, who will turn 32 on Sunday, has a 2.26 ERA in his most recent eight starts for the RedHawks. In those eight games, Van Hekken has pitched 51 2/3 innings, allowing 43 hits and striking out 46 batters.

They Can't all be Prospects

In my latest post, I take a look at five members of the Astros' organization who are as much a part of minor league baseball as The Dizzy Bat Race.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Martinez Nears end of Hot July

With just three games left in the month, Corpus Christi outfielder J.D. Martinez has sixteen extra base hits and 25 RBI in 25 games. Martinez added to his July totals with a three-run home run for the Hooks Thursday night. Over-all for the month, Martinez is 35 for 90 with eight doubles, one triple, seven home runs (.733 slugging), and 22 runs scored to go with the 25 RBI. He has 13 home runs and 71 RBI with a .340 batting average for the season.

2011 Farmstros Five Week 16 (Short Season portion)

The Farmstros Five by Chris Buck is still to come. For a little variety and to get more prospects' names in front of you, this week's Farmstros Five includes a Short Season portion, at no extra charge.

Farmstros Five Week 16 (short season)- July 21-27, 2011

Reymin Guduan, 19, LHP, DSL Astros. Guduan, in his second season for the Dominican Astros pitched five scoreless innings in his only start of the week. He allowed three hits and struck out five.

Adrian Houser, 18, RHP, GCL Astros/Greeneville. The Astros' second round pick in the 2011 draft continued his steady work in Florida as a professional. In his only appearance, he allowed two hits and only one run in 4 1/3 innings. He struck out four and walked three. To top off the week, he was promoted to Greeneville.

Brad Propst, 22, RHP, Greeneville. Propst made two scoreless relief appearances for Greeneville. The Astros' 38th Round Draft Pick allowed three hits and two walks, striking out eight in six innings.

Nick Tropeano, 20, RHP, Tri-City. The 5th Round Draft Pick stepped to the front of Tri-City's rotation this week. He allowed two hits and struck out nine in six scoreless innings in his only start.

Jesse Wierzbicki, 22, 1B, Greeneville. Wierzbicki showed some power for Greeneville this week. The 24th Round Pick went 9 for 22 with two doubles, one triple, two home runs and six RBI. He also scored six runs while slugging .864.

Lucas Harrell...39 days and Counting

The last time Oklahoma City pitcher Lucas Harrell was on a major league mound, Jose Altuve was still in Corpus Christi, the Astros were 27-47, and we had no idea if there would be a 2011 NFL season. Harrell, a right-handed starter last took the mound for the White Sox on June 20.

The Astros picked up the 26-year old shortly after Chicago waived him, and he has quickly proceeded to make his case for a speedy return to the big leagues. In three starts, Harrell has pitched 18 innings and posted a 1.00 ERA. He has allowed 13 hits and walked nine while striking out 16 batters.

Harrell is currently on the Astros' 40-man roster. This will make it easier logistically to promote him in the event that a trade opens up a spot in the big league starting rotation.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Farmstros Five- Week 15

by Chris Buck

Farmstros Five Week 15- July 14-20, 2011

Farmstros Five week 15.

Jake Buchanan, 21, RHP, Lancaster
Why? – 1.32 era, 2 GS, 13.2 IP, 15H, 4 BB, 11 SO

Jake just keeps getting outs! We have profiled him here several times, and there isn’t a whole lot more to say. He just keeps putting up quality start after quality start. A week from now, when the trade deadline is passed and we see some spots open up at the higher levels, we are likely to see Buchanan take a step up to the Texas League.

Kody Hinze, 23, 1B, Corpus Christi
Why? – 13-for-27, 4 R, 3 RBI, 4 2B, HR, 2BB.

Welcome back to Texas, Mr. Hinze. Since being moved to the Corpus, Kody has not missed a beat. There have been a number of players have trouble making the move from hitter friendly Lancaster to Corpus. Kody, like Altuve before him, has just kept on hitting. Kody also has a knack for getting on base, which is a welcome change from the free swingers in the big club’s lineup.

J.D. Martinez, 23, OF, Corpus Christi
Why? – 9-for-21, 6 R, 9 RBI, 2 2B, HR, 2BB.

It has been said before and it will be said again, J.D. can hit! With the Pence rumors swirling, and Carlos starting to put up some respectable numbers, there may be a spot in the Houston outfield open soon. It is also nice to see a little more power out of J.D. It sure would be nice to see a guy with a .325 batting average in the Houston outfield again.

Dallas Keuchel, 23, LHP, Corpus Christi
Why? – 1.29 era, GS, 7 IP, 5H, 0 BB, 7 SO

Another guy who has made his way to this list regularly, Dallas is in line for a move up the ladder soon. If Wandy or Myers, or both, are dealt, than Dallas could be in Houston soon.

Delino DeShields, Jr., 18, 2B, Lexington
Why? – 10-for-28, 4 R, 8 RBI, 2B, 4sb, 4BB.

Finally, DDS has begun to put it together. After being such a high selection, the expectations were extremely high for Delino. But, he remains extremely young. He was drafted as a 17 year old and will play most of this season at 18. Ultimately, the vast majority of players drafted this June were younger than Delino. Lately, he has taken a more contact driven approach and it has paid off. Being so young, it is likely that more power will come naturally as he moves up the levels. For now, it is good to see one of the Astros early round high-school guys start to put it together.

Cedeno Returns to the Hooks' Bullpen

After a spot start for the AAA Oklahoma City RedHawks, left-hander Xavier Cedeno is back with Corpus Christi, and he if filling a new role as a member of the Hooks' bullpen. Prior to his brief call-up, Cedeno had made 19 starts for Corpus Christi. He led the Texas League with 108 strikeouts in 109 2/3 innings.

Greg Rajan of the Corpus Christi Caller-Times tweeted that the move to the bullpen is being made out of concern for Cedeno's arm. Prior to this season, Cedeno had not been a regular starting pitcher since the 2008 season (he made three starts for Carolina in 2010). In the last two seasons, he had compiled a total of under 100 innings pitched. (2009- 70 2/3; 2010- 22)

Henry Sosa out-Whataburgers San Antonio

Henry Sosa has still not allowed an earned run at Corpus Christi's Whataburger Field. Sosa, acquired last week from San Francisco in the Jeff Keppinger trade, allowed three hits and no earned runs in seven innings in his second start with his new team Tuesday night. The right-hander, who turns 26 Thursday, has an 0.00 ERA in 14 innings pitched as part of the Houston organization. He has allowed seven hits and two walks while striking out 14.

Assuming the Hooks maintain their five-man rotation, Sosa is scheduled to take the mound at Whataburger Field again Friday, August 5 against Midland. He is in line to make his first road start as a Hook Sunday, July 31 at Midland.

Valley Cats all about the GREEN tonight

In an event that should make ALUMINUM CAN MUSIC MAN proud, the Tri-City Valley Cats will be celebrating their 4th Annual Going Green Night at Joe Bruno Stadium tonight.

As an added bonus to the evening's environmentally friendly activities, Jonas Dufek will be the starting pitcher for Tri-City. Based on Dufek's penchant for shutting down opponents with regularity, less energy will be needed to run the Bruno Stadium scoreboard during tonight's contest.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Three Young Arms get Day off to a Good Start

Day Games in Kissimmee, Florida and Staten Island, New York gave three Astros' pitching prospects a chance to get their work in early, and they made effective use of the opportunity.

In Kissimmee,

Tanner Bushue, 20, GCL Astros. Bushue continued his rehab efforts, pitching four innings against the GCL Marlins. He allowed only one run while striking out two and allowing six hits.

Adrian Houser, 18, GCL Astros. Houser made his sixth professional appearance, relieving Bushue. He allowed only two hits and one run in 4 1/3 innings. He lowered his ERA for the season to 4.03 in 22 1/3 innings pitched.

In Staten Island,

Juri Perez, 20, Tri-City. Perez gave up only four hits and one run, striking out eight in six innings for the Valley Cats.

Springer has discussions with the Long Island Ducks

Big thanks to native_astro who just tweeted this link from MLB Trade Rumors. It indicates that George Springer who the Astros drafted 11th over-all in last month's draft may be close to signing with the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League. The Astros have until August 15 to sign their draft picks. If they fail to sign Springer and/or 3rd Round Pick Jack Armstrong, they would receive compensation in the form of draft picks in 2012.

More information on this report. The original tweet came from Tim Dierkes who is based in Roselle, Illinois. His Twitter feed (timdierkes) indicates he was on Houston's Sports Radio 610 Monday morning. He tweeted at about 1 p.m. (Minute Maid Park time) that the rumor that "Springer is looking into signing with the Long Island Ducks is legitimate." Dierkes posted this on MLB Trade Rumors, which provides more information on the story.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Amazing Race- Farmstros Edition

With all due respect to Phil Keoghan, I submit my proposal for a show on the new Astros/Rockets TV network. Read about The Amazing Race-Farmstros Edition in my latest post.

Two DSL Astros are All-Stars

Two members of the Astros' Dominican Summer League entry participated in that league's all-star game today.

Franny Polanco, 19, played three innings of catcher for the National League team. He had a line drive single in his only at bat.

Juan Santana, 16, played the final three innings of the contest at shortstop. He started a double play on defense and grounded into one at the plate.

Epps Powers GCL Astros to Victory

Chris Epps three-run homer in the top of the 7th inning Sunday broke a 4-4 tie and led the GCL Astros to an 8-7 win over the GCL Nationals. Epps, 23, is now batting .316 for the season with three doubles, three triples, three home runs and 24 RBI in 29 Gulf Coast League games. Epps was drafted in out of Clemson in the 45th Round of the 2011 Draft.

Van Hekken Toes Rubber for RedHawks this Afternoon

Oklahoma City left-hander Andy Van Hekken takes another turn in the rotation this afternoon at home against Memphis at 3:05 (Minute Maid Park time). Van Hekken struggled in his last start Tuesday at Albuquerque; however, he still is the most consistent starter for the RedHawks. In his last seven starts, Van Hekken has pitched 44 2/3 innings, allowed 40 hits and walked 14 while striking out 38 and posting a 2.62 ERA. The game can be heard through the RedHawks' website.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Live With Lasky-Trivia Winner

I attempted to get people to use the hashtag #LWLASKY throughout the game, especially for the trivia contest. I was checking the hashtag for correct answers rather than @farmstros. Due to this fact, I missed native_astro's correct reply to @farmstros.

Since no one had the correct response with the #LWLASKY hashtag and since I only have one ball to give, native_astro takes the prize. If he could email me at with contact info., I will get the ball headed his way.

Thanks to everyone who joined the event tonight.

Live with Lasky in Game Farm Report

This in Game Farm Report is brought to you by Aluminum Can Music Man-One Cape, One guitar and a pocket-ful of green songs.

With the JetHawks still playing at Clear Channel Stadium, the rest of the Astros' farm system has completed there action for the day.

Oklahoma City-7, Memphis-4

J.B. Shuck had two hits, two runs and an RBI. Sammy Gervacio picked up his first AAA save with a perfect ninth inning.

Frisco-9, Corpus Christi-5

Kody Hinze and Jonathan Villar homered for the Hooks.

Savannah-7, Lexington-6

Michael Kvasnicka had three hits for the Legends. Jhonny Medrano and Bryce Lane homered.

Staten Island-6, Tri-City-1

Ebert Rosario pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings for the Valley Cats.

Bristol- 11, Greeneville-4

Jose Vargas had two doubles for the G-Stros.

The GCL and DSL Astros teams were idle today.

I've Got my hat on and am Ready to Listen

Yes, I am wearing my Portland Rockies hat for Live with Lasky tonight. (Sorry, my new Jose Altuve jersey hasn't come yet from Oregon) If you are willing and you have the capability tonight during the game, please send a picture of your listening garb.

Yordany Ramirez- Two Great Catches for the Road

Yordany Ramirez's attempt to become a pitcher in the Astros' organization came to a close yesterday when he was released from the Lancaster roster. Ramirez, who spent three seasons in AAA Round Rock as an outfielder, made amazing catches commonplace. A lack of hitting to complement his glove work led to Yordany taking the mound and trying his hand as a pitcher late in 2010. He split the 2011 season between Lexington and Lancaster. As a Legend and JetHawk, he made 23 appearances, posting a 10.41 ERA with 20 strikeouts and 28 walks in 32 innings.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Live with Lasky- The Prizes

What would a Game Listening/Twitter Experience be without prizes? Throughout Saturday night's JetHawks game, Farmstros will tweet a few trivia question. Prizes will be given to the first tweeter to reply with the correct answer (tweet must include #LWLASKY). Here are the prizes:

Two pairs of tickets to a future JetHawks game at Clear Channel Stadium
A ball signed by the JetHawks team. (Kirk Clark is collecting the signatures. In case you are wondering, I didn't request the ball until after Jose Altuve was promoted to Corpus Christi.)

Please join us on Twitter (#LWLASKY) at 9:00 p.m. Saturday. (Minute Maid Park time)

Live with Lasky- The Houston Connection

Two members of the Lancaster bullpen have direct ties to the Houston area.

Left-hander Colton Pitkin, 21, was drafted by the Astros in 2007 out of Baytown Sterling High School. Pitkin has made 28 appearances for Lancaster in 2011, posting a 5.02 ERA in 43 innnigs pitched.

Left-hander Wes Musick, 24, was drafted by Colorado in 2009 out of the University of Houston. The Astros acquired Musick as part of the Matt Lindstrom trade. Musick has recently returned to the JetHawks from the disabled list. For the season with the JetHawks, he has made 10 appearances, striking out 24 in 22 innings, while posting a 5.32 ERA.

What's all the Farmstros Buzz About?

A tweet by Greg Rajan of the Corpus Christi Caller-Times got me thinking about the increased interest in the Astros farm system. Read the resulting essay in my latest post.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Welcome to Whataburger Field, Henry Sosa

Henry Sosa didn't waste any time introducing himself to the fans of Corpus Christi. Thursday night, in his first outing since being acquired from San Francisco for Jeff Keppinger, the right-hander pitched seven scoreless innings. He allowed four hits and walked one while striking out five in his first appearance at Whataburger Field. The Hooks won the game 6-0.

Jason Stoffel, the other pitcher picked up in the Keppinger trade, pitched a perfect ninth inning Wednesday night to earn a save in his Corpus Christi debut.

Bailey Leads the JetHawk offense

Although he hasn't been in Lancaster two weeks, outfielder Adam Bailey is currently leading the JetHawks' offense. With Jose Altuve and Kody Hinze moved up the organizational ladder and injuries to prospects like Austin Wates and Jiovanni Mier, Bailey has stepped up with his bat in the California League. Since being promoted from Lexington on July 8, Bailey has gone 20 for 48 with three doubles, three home runs and 16 RBI. (.417/.431/.667) Between Lexington and Lancaster, Bailey has 19 home runs and 69 RBI in 90 games this season.

Be sure to join the Farmstros Village for LIVE WITH LASKY on Saturday night as we listen to Bailey and his JetHawk teammates.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Things to do in Corpus when You're not Promoted

With Jose Altuve in Houston and Xavier Cedeno on his way to join Oklahoma City, the next two most likely candidates for promotion from AA led the Hooks to a 4-2 victory over Midland Wednesday night. Dallas Keuchel lowered his season ERA to 3.04, allowing one earned run in seven innings. He gave up five hits and struck out seven. Outfielder J.D. Martinez had a double, a run scored and two RBI in the victory. He ran his RBI total for the season to 65.

All-Star Game Seems to Have Launched J.B. Shuck

The Utah air and participating in last week's AAA All-Star Game rejuvenated the bat of Oklahoma City outfielder J.B. Shuck. In the four games Shuck has played since last Wednesday night's game between the Pacific Coast League and International League in Salt Lake City, Shuck has gone 8 for 14 with one double, one triple and three RBI. Shuck has also scored three runs and stolen a base while raising his average from .265 at the All-Star break to .281.

We are Your Altuves?

As I keyboard in this post, the Altuves (I mean Astros) are preparing for their afternoon game with Washington at Minute Maid Park. For those of you keeping score at home (watching on Houston's my20 like myself?), Altuve will be batting second and wearing #27.

Many thanks to Lee Street in Portland for sharing the picture of the newest shirt in his closet.

Villagers: Even though Altuve is no longer officially a Farmstro, singing is still highly encouraged any time he does something Altuve-esque.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Farmstros Five- Week 14

by Chris Buck

Farmstros Five Week 14- July 7-13, 2011

Getting to know some of our guys at the lower levels!

Jake Buchanan, 21, RHP, Lancaster
Why? – 1.80 era, 2 GS, 15 IP, 12H, 3R, 3 BB, 10 SO

For the season Jake has a 3.65 era in Lancaster. Putting up those kind of numbers in that league, and in that ballpark, is impressive. It cannot be long until Jake makes his way to Texas.

Chase Davidson, 21, of, Tri-City
Why? – 6-for-12, 5 R, 6 RBI, 1 2B, 2 HR, 7BB.

Davidson just keeps getting it done. Six for twelve with seven walks speaks for itself. For the Astros organization, it appears that the best things come to those who wait. For Chase, it appears that he may be up to full-season ball if he keeps this type of plate discipline up.

Kyle Hallock, 22, LHP, Tri-City
Why? – 0.00 era, 1 GS, 6 IP, 2H, 3BB, 4 SO

I like Hallock. I guess I just have this thing for lefties that can strike people out. For the season, Hallock now has 29Ks in 29 innings of work. Going back to his time at Kent St. this spring, Hallock has put a lot of zeros on the board. As it stands, it appears that Kyle may be ready for some full-season ball as well.

Adam Bailey, 23, of, Lancaster
Why? – 10-for-23, 4R, 6RBI, 1 2B, HR, BB

Typically, a guy drafted in the 23rd round of the draft would be thought of as an organizational player. But, Bailey has not been treated as one, and, so far, has been moved through the system at a relatively quick pace. For the season, Bailey has .301/.345/.502 slash line between Lexington and Lancaster. At Lancaster he has a hefty .432/.457/.705 slash line in ten games. Only time will tell if he continues through the system at the same pace, but hitting better than .400 won’t hurt.

Jonas Dufek, 23, SP, Tri-City
Why? – 0.00 era, 1 GS, 6 IP, 4H, 0BB, 3 SO

Jonas hasn’t given up a run in a while and now has a season 2.35 era in six starts and 30.2 innings. Drafted in the 11th round of this years draft, Dufek has really performed well. Combined with Hallock, who was selected in the 10th round, the early returns on these two veteran college pitchers have been excellent. In fact, the staff at Tri-City has been pretty solid, posting a 3.74 era.

What are the Chances of a Quality Red Hawks' start tonight?

The Magic 8 ball says, "All indications are good."

Andy Van Hekken will make his 10th start of the season for Oklahoma City tonight in Albuquerque. Van Hekken, who has been the most consistent RedHawk starter since being moved from the bullpen, has a 2.04 ERA in his last six starts. That span includes 39 2/3 innings, 35 hits allowed and 37 strikeouts. In a total of 25 AAA appearances this season, Van Hekken, who last appeared in the major leagues in 2002, has an ERA of 2.97 with 75 strikeouts in 72 2/3 innings.

Houser on the Hill

According to his Twitter feed, the Astros' 2nd Round Draft Pick Adrian Houser (AdrianHouser12) is slated to make his fifth professional start today for the GCL Astros. The Astros' Florida affiliate takes the field in Kissimmee at 11 a.m. (Minute Maid Park Time) behind Houser. In his first four starts, Houser has allowed 15 hits and five walks while striking out 19 and posting a 2.87 ERA in 15 2/3 innings. The box score of the game against Washington's Gulf Coast League affiliate can be accessed here.

2011 Trade Deadline Acquistions

From Atlanta for Michael Bourn:

Juan Abreu, RHP

Paul Clemens, RHP

Brett Oberholtzer, LHP

Jordan Schafer, OF

From Philadelphia for Hunter Pence:

Jarred Cosart, RHP

Domingo Santana, OF

Jonathan Singleton, 1B/OF

Josh Zeid, RHP

From San Francisco for Jeff Keppinger:

Henry Sosa, 25, RHP (Video)

Jason Stoffel, 22, RHP (Video)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Summer Re-run: King Comes through in the clutch

Like his Greeneville counterpart Chase Davidson, Lexington outfielder Emilio King came through with a two-out home run in the 7th inning that turned a deficit into a lead. King's two-run shot came in the bottom of the 7th of the Legends' home game against Hagerstown. King staked the Legends to a 7-6 advantage. For the season, King is batting .302 with five home runs and 26 RBI.

Davidson Comes through in the clutch

Greeneville outfielder Chase Davidson hit a three-run home run with two outs in the top of the 7th of the G-stros game at Kingsport. The blast put Greeneville ahead 5-4 in the contest. Davidson, 21, is currently batting .310 with eight home runs and 24 RBI in 24 games in the Appalachian League this summer.

Martinez up Two Notches since All-Star Break

Not that he was strugglig prior to the Texas League All-Star Game on June 29, but Corpus Christi outfielder J.D. Martinez is producing even more since participating in the mid-season contest. In the his last 15 games, Martinez is 24 for 54 with five doubles, one triple, five home runs and 17 RBI. He has also walked 14 times and scored 15 runs, and has a .852 slugging post all-star game. For the entire season, Martinez, who turns 24 on August 21, is batting .341 with 11 home runs 62 RBI and a .543 slugging percentage.

Maybe Ed Wade Needs an Invisibility Cloak

The Astros could benefit from some of Harry Potter's magic. Read about it in my latest post.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Three Elizabethton Pitchers No-hit Greeneville

A trio of pitchers combined to no-hit the Greeneville Astros Saturday night in Greeneville. The effort extended Greeneville's scoreless streak to 26 2/3 innings. The club last safely crossed home plate was the first inning of Thursday's game in Johnson City. The club has ten hits and 26 strikeouts since Jordan Scott led of that game with a single and was consequently driven in by a Josh Magee sacrifice fly.

Farmstros Five Week 14 postponed

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Farmstros Five is postponed until further notice.

Dufek Now with 20 1/3 Scoreless

Tri-City starter Jonas Dufek extended his scoreless string to 20 1/3 with six shutout innings for the Valley Cats. Dufek has not allowed a run since June 29, 22 days after he was drafted by the Astros in the ninth round of the 2010 Draft. For the season, Dufek, who played collegiately at Creighton, has lowered his ERA to 2.35 in six professional starts. He has allowed 27 hits and eight walks while striking out 17 in 30 2/3 innings.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

If a vacancy is needed on the 40-man Roster?

It's less than seven weeks until the Astros active roster can be expanded to 40 players on September 1. At the moment, the club's 40-man roster is at full capacity. Several players who might be considered for a September call-up aren't currently part of the 40-man roster. This means someone would have to be moved off to make room for them.

So, if J.D. Martinez, Jose Altuve, Dallas Keuchel, J.B. Shuck or Andy Van Hekken (you knew I had to mention him, didn't you?) are going to make it to Houston before the season ends, someone will need to be cleared to make space.

A few candidates:

Brandon Lyon. Lyon is the no-brainer. He is currently on the 15-day disabled list. He could be moved to the 60-man DL and thus be removed from the 40-man.

Blake King, RHP, Corpus Christi. King was picked up during this season and added to the 40-man roster. He would seem to expendable.

Lucas Harrell, RHP, Oklahoma City. Houston just picked Harrell up a few weeks ago, so they would probably like to see a little bit of him in action before they let him go.

Another option for adding 40-man space is trading big league players for prospects who don't go on the 40-man roster.

One Week until Live With Lasky

Just a reminder that LIVE WITH LASKY (#LWLASKY) a GAME LISTENING/TWITTER EXPERIENCE will take place next Saturday during the Lancaster/Lake Elsinore game. Huddle around the "Village" Radio, listen to Jeff Lasky's call of the game, and join the chatter on Twitter. The game begins at 9:00 p.m. Minute Maid Park Time.

Flores Wields a Magic(?) Bat

Lancaster third baseman David Flores may not have watched the midnight showing of Harry Potter with the JetHawk pitchers Thursday night, but he seems to have found a bat full of magical powers somewhere. Flores, who had three home runs Thursday night, followed up that showing with three doubles, a home run and four RBI for the JetHawks Friday night. In the last two games, Flores is 8 for 10 with three doubles, four home runs and 11 RBI for Lancaster. If there had been a Golden Snitch at Maverick Stadium in High Desert last night, I'm sure he would have snagged it as well.

Friday, July 15, 2011

JetHawks First in Line for Harry Potter

Many thanks to Lancaster closer Kirk Clark for filling us in on some of the JetHawks' trip to take in a midnight showing of the final Harry Potter movie late Thursday/early Friday in Lancaster.

NOTE: JetHawks third baseman David Flores apparently didn't make it to the Harry Potter screening. However, he found a magic bat somewhere.

It all started when Robert Donovan, Mike Ness, Andrew Robinson, Robert Doran and myself decided to go reserve tickets. After the commute from High Desert we showered and walked over a few hours early so we could get good seats. We all have been preparing for this movie by reading some of the book the last few months and re-watching the earlier movies. The crowd cheered once the movie started, after that it was silence as if you could hear a pen drop. The movie picked up where it left off in part one. With quite a few twists and turns that some would never think of. (Unless you read the books, of course.) All in all it was a phenominal movie, and a great ending that gives you chills even if your just an ok i might as well see it, cause i've seen all the rest of 'em in person.

Can Ed Wade turn Wandy into Moises Alou?

With the trade deadline approaching, it is time to see what kind of magician Ed Wade is. My latest post.

Flores Goes Yard, Flores Goes Yard, Flores Goes Yard!

Lancaster Third Basemen David Flores had three round-trippers in the JetHawks 13-7 win over High Desert Thursday night. Flores finished the night four for five with seven RBI. His fourth hit was a single.

Flores, 24, who was drafted by the Astros in 2008, was demoted to Lancaster from Corpus Christi earlier this season when Jose Altuve and Jonathan Villar was promoted to Corpus. This is Flores' third season with Lancaster. His performance Thursday night gives him a .325 batting average for the JetHawks with six home runs and 24 RBI in 32 games.

All Eight Teams on Fields Today

With all-star breaks, days off and rainouts, it has been awhile since all eight Astros' affiliates have played on the same day. With the big league club returning from its all-star break, here is the schedule from Oklahoma City to the Dominican Republic. All times are Minute Maid Park Time.

9:30 a.m.- DSL Astros vs. DSL Yankees #2

10 a.m.- GCL Astros vs. GCL Marlins (It appears the Florida clubs will be playing two games to make up for a rainout earlier in the season.)

6:00- Greeneville vs. Elizabethton

6:05- Lexington vs. Savannah

6:05- Tri-City at Batavia

7:00- Corpus Christi at Frisco

7:05- Oklahoma City at Iowa

9:05- Lancaster at High Desert

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Andy Van Hekken...3212 Days and Counting

Andy Van Hekken had another quality start for Oklahoma City tonight in their first game back from the All-Star break. The left-hander pitched seven innings in Iowa, allowing seven hits and one earned run while striking out seven batters. In his last six starts, Van Hekken, who last appeared in the big leagues almost nine years ago, has a 2.02 with 37 strikeouts and 35 hits allowed in 39 2/3 IP. His outing tonight lowered his over-all ERA for the season to 2.97.

Top Draft Picks Anchor Valley Cats' Rotation

The Astros haven't signed the top collegiate pitcher they selected in last month's draft. However, the next three pitchers they picked out of college have settled into the Tri-City rotation quite nicely. With third round pick Jack Armstrong pitching in the Cape Cod League, Nick Tropeano (5th Round), Jonas Dufek (9th Round), and Kyle Hallock (11th Round) have started 14 of the Valley Cats' 24 games to this point in the season.

Nick Tropeano, 20, RHP. Tropeano joined the Houston organization out of SUNY-Stony Brook. He has made four professional starts, posting a 3.18 ERA in 17 innings pitched. He is slated to make his fifth start tonight in Batavia.

Jonas Dufek, 23, RHP. From Creighton, Dufek will enter his next start with a scoreless streak of 14 1/3 innings. In five starts, he has a 2.92 ERA in 24 2/3 IP.

Kyle Hallock, 22, LHP. Hallock, out of Kent St., has the lowest ERA of the trio, 1.86 in five professional starts. He has 29 strikeouts in 29 innings.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Shuck an All-Star in Salt Lake City Tonight

Outfielder J.B. Shuck will represent Oklahoma City in tonight's AAA All-Star Game in Salt Lake City, Utah. Shuck replaced David Carpenter as the RedHawks representative in the game when Carpenter got called up to Houston. The game begins at 8 p.m. (Minute Maid Park Time.)

Shuck apparently took a camera on the trip to Utah. He posted this picture of the city by the lake via Twitter (@JB_SHUCK).

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

GCL Astros start Game with a 10-Spot

Despite only having four hits in the top of the first inning of their game against the Mets today, the GCL Astros scored 10 runs before the inning was through. Four of the Astros who came to the plate in the frame reached on walks, two were hit by pitches and one reached on a wild pitch after a strikeout.

Jason Bourgeois, rehabbing in Florida, walked and singled in the first inning, scoring twice. Chris Epps walked and hit a three-run homer that plated the eighth, ninth and tenth runs. The Astros went on to win the game 17-11.

Hooks' Leon Has his Roar Back

In the past four weeks, right-handed reliever Arcenio Leon has returned to the form he showed during the first month of the season for the Corpus Christi Hooks. Since June 17, Leon, 24, has made 11 appearances out of the Hooks bullpen, allowing only one earned run and striking out 21 while recording two saves in 15 innings. During this stretch, Leon(a member of the Astros' 40-man roster) has lowered his ERA to 3.07 for the season entering this evening's game.

Leon, who finished 2010 with the Hooks, jumped out of the blocks quickly in April. He made seven AA appearances in the season's first month, pitching 11 scoreless innings and striking out 11. However, May 1 through June 16 was not Leon's time. He made 12 appearances during that time, seeing his ERA balloon to 4.50 before this latest effective streak began.

They Might be Pitchers- an Update

In Spring Training, I did a post on about three players in the lower-levels of the Astros' minor league system who are attempting to make the switch from position player to pitcher.

Here's an update on the performance on the hill in 2011 of those three converts (plus one more):

Jorge DeLeon- DeLeon continues to be at the head of this class. In his second year as a pitcher, he has been a mainstay in the Lexington bullpen. He has 11 saves and a 2.87 ERA in 28 appearances. DeLeon has allowed 34 hits, walked eight, and struck out 36 in 37 2/3 innings.

Wilton Infante- Infante wasn't in the Spring Training post that I wrote. The former outfielder is pitching in Kissimmee for the Astros Gulf Coast League entry. Infante has a 6.00 ERA in four appearances.

Yordany Ramirez- The former defensive wizard has given his teammates plenty of opportunity to chase baseballs this season. In 22 appearances between Lexington and Lancaster, Ramirez has a 10.20 ERA. He has allowed 40 hits and walked 27 in 30 innings pitched.

Ebert Rosario- Like DeLeon, Rosario is a former infielder and he is spending his first full season as a pitcher in Tri-City. However, Rosario has not been as effective as DeLeon in his pitching debut. He has a 7.36 ERA in six games covering 7 1/3 innings pitched.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Siga Los Astros del futuro con nosotros

Here's a link to some video of Jose Altuve being interviewed in Spanish at the Futures Game.

Jose Altuve- The Back Story

What's that? You want to know more about Jose Altuve before he was JOSE ALTUVE? I have some more information in my lastest post.

Dominican Power Surge

In 31 games this summer, the Astros' Dominican Summer League entry has hit 12 home runs. While this number averages out to only one home run every 2.5 games, it is a marked increase in power compared to the previous two Dominican Astros teams.

In 2010, the DSL Astros had 14 home runs in 69 games. (about 1 every 5 games)

In 2009, the DSL Astros had only 10 home runs in 64 games. (about 1 every 6.5 games)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Altuve was a Wee Little Man

Much has been made of Altuve's height, or lack thereof. I'm not sure HOW tall Altuve really is, but all indications are he doesn't play like a wee little man. Hope you enjoy the song.

Two Recovering Arms throwing for Tri-City this Summer

Two young pitchers in the Astros organization who missed a substantial amount of time due to injury are off to promising starts for the Tri-City Valley Cats this summer.

After the 2009 season, Baseball America rated Juri Perez as the 31st best prospect in the Astros' system. However, Perez was disabled for almost all of 2010. He made a few appearances for Lexington earlier in 2011 as a temporary injury replacement. He joined Tri-City at the beginning of their short season. The 20-year old right-hander has made five starts in the New York-Penn League, posting a 3.55 ERA with 24 hits allowed and 25 strikeouts in 25 1/3 innings pitched.

Dayan Diaz missed the entire 2009 season and most of 2010 with injury, before finding his way onto the Tri-City roster on June 17. The 22-year old right-hander has made five appearances out of the Valley Cat bullpen. In 11 2/3 IP he has allowed six hits and struck out 13 batters while posting a 0.77 ERA.

Apparently, Ovando and Batista Like July

Ten days into the month, two of the Astros most highly touted Latin American imports are having impressive Julys.

Ariel Ovando injured his elbow on opening day for Greeneville. However, the 17-year old outfielder is now back in the lineup for the G-stros on a regular basis. So far in July, Ovando is 8 for 23 with two doubles, one triple, five RBI and four runs scored. He has raised his season average to .333.

Jean Carlos Batista is making his professional debut in Kissimmee, Florida with the Gulf Coast League Astros. After a slow start, the 19-year old shortstop is 9 for 21 in July. In six games this month, he has one double, two triples, one home run and nine RBI, while raising his season average to .306.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Welcome to Lancaster, Adam Bailey

Adam Bailey hasn't wasted anytime introducing himself to the California League. The left-handed outfielder is 5 for 8 in his first 1 and 1/2 games with Lancaster after being promoted from Lexington earlier this week. Through five innings of tonight's game, Bailey is batting .625 with one double, one home run and three RBI for the JetHawks. Bailey, who was drafted in 2010 out of the University of Nebraska, batted .282 with 16 home runs and 53 RBI for Lexington before his promotion.

Batting 2nd- Jose Altuve

Jose Altuve is starting at 2nd and batting 2nd for the International Team in tomorrow's Futures' Game.

Altuve on 40-man Roster in 2012

If he doesn't make it there by the end of the 2011 season, Jose Altuve will almost certainly be on the Astros' 40-man roster by the time Spring Training 2012 rolls around. Altuve, 21, will be vulnerable to the Rule 5 draft for the first time this December. Of course, if he is added to the 40-man roster, he is protected from this draft.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Congratulations and an Apology to J.B. Shuck

Dear J.B.,

First of all, let me congratulate you on your selection to represent the RedHawks and the Pacific Coast League in next week's AAA All-Star Game in Salt Lake City. That is truly a great honor, and I am certain that you will do the Astros organization, the RedHawks, your family and the entire state of Ohio proud on July 13.

Having said that, I would like to apologize to you and your family. Several weeks ago, a few members of your family approached me for my opinion about your chances of being in the AAA All-Star Game. Apparently, travel plans neeeded to be made. At that point in time, I was dubious of your chances and indicated that fact in my reply. I could claim that I had no idea that David Carpenter, who you are replacing as the RedHawks representative, would be promoted to Houston. I could use the excuse that I was unaware that each team was guaranteed a representative.

However, these excuses will ring hollow if I have caused your family to miss your all-star appearance. I can only hope in this instance, they didn't listen to me.

Congratulations again with sincere apologies,

Mike Tauser
Poet Laureate (and sometime mistake maker) of the Farmstros Village

Andy Van Hekken...3206 Days and Counting

In early May, I spoke to Andy Van Hekken about his attempt to return to the big leagues after more than nine seasons.
Almost two months later, I wanted to check back in on the left-hander, who is still pitching for Oklahoma City.

Van Hekken has returned to the starting rotation for the RedHawks after starting the season in the bullpen. In his last five starts, he has pitched 32 2/3 innings and struck out 30 batters, while posting a 2.20 ERA and allowing only 28 hits. Over-all, Van Hekken has a 3.61 ERA in eight starts.

His time in the bullpen was equally as productive. He had a 2.31 ERA and even mixed in a save in his 16 appearances out of the Oklahoma City bullpen.

2011 Farmstros Five- Week 13

by Chris Buck

Farmstros Five Week 13- June 30- July 6, 2011

Farmstros Five week 13.

Martinez, Martinez, Martinez!!!

J.D. Martinez, 23, OF, Corpus Christi
Why? – 12-for-22, 8 R, 9 RBI, 5BB, 2 2B, 3B, 3HR.

WOW! Just, WOW! The slash line for the week says it all .545/.630/1.136 for cool 1.766 OPS. JD has been known as an excellent hitter for average with some line-drive and gap-to-gap doubles power. But, this week he pulled out the big stick with eight extra-base hits. Now, don’t expect JD to hit 40+ HR in the majors, but there remains the possibility that he does continue to develop a bit more power. For now, he has a .333/.402/.522 line on the year with a .924 OPS. He has just AAA Oklahoma City between him and Houston, and he should handle the PCL quite well.

Chris Wallace, 23, C, Corpus Christi
Why? – 6-for-18, 6 R, 8 RBI, 4BB, 2HR, SB.

It is difficult for catchers to make lists like these, because you only get 4-5 games a week and 20 at-bats at most. So, you have to make the most of your opportunities, and Wallace did just that. Originally drafted in the 16th round of the 2010 draft out of the University of Houston, his performance thus far has been a bit of a surprise. Early this season, he put up a .285/.356/.550 line in Lexington over 66 games and 242 at-bats. He then skipped high-A Lancaster and has put up a .300/.391/.450 line at Corpus in 11 games and 40 at-bats. With Quintero moving into his arbitration years, and Castro coming back from injury, it is nice to see some depth developing within the organization at the backstop position.

Jake Buchanan, 21, RHP, Lancaster
Why? – 3.38 era, 1 GS, 8 IP, 8H, 3R, BB, 5 SO

Jake has been one of the few Astros farmhands that has been able to handle pitching in the hitter’s paradise of Lancaster. In fact, he has allowed only 5 homeruns all season. For the season he has a 3.95 era with a 1.21 WHIP. The scouting reports on Jake indicate that he has a hard ceiling as a prospect due to a relatively pedestrian fastball. However, those reports also indicate that he has a quality change and curve to go with excellent command. Ultimately, he just keeps getting outs! If he keeps doing that at a high rate, then he is one to watch as a mid-to-late rotation starter or long reliever.

Telvin Nash, 20, 1B, Lexington
Why? – 10-for-29, 5 R, 4 RBI, 3BB, 2B, HR, SB.

A few weeks ago we told you that Kody Hinze was one of the few power bats in the Astros system. Well, Nash is another one. He was originally drafted out of high school in the third round of the 2009 draft, he had a slow start to his professional career. He has missed part of this season due to injury, but is now back and adding to his impressive season. For the year, he has a .305/.383/.526 in 24 games and 95 at-bats for Lexington.

Carlos Quevedo, 21, RHP, Lexington
Why? – 1.93 era, 2 GS, 14 IP, 12H, 3R, 2BB, 5 SO

Not much is known of Quevedo. He doesn’t like to walk anyone as he has given up just 8 free passes in his 93.2 innings of work this year. For the season, he has a 4.32 era with a 1.31 WHIP. His numbers suggest a guy that has good command, but is not able to miss a lot of bats. Time will tell where he ends up.

Wates Drives in runs that Hinze Left Behind

Kody Hinze took his 22 home runs and 70 RBI from Lancaster to Corpus Christi after Tuesday's game, but thanks to Austin Wates, nobody at Clear Channel Stadium seemed to notice. A 2010 draft pick, Wates led the JetHawks to wins in their first two games without Hinze. On Wednesday and Thursday night, Wates was a combined 5 for 7 with three doubles, one home run and seven RBI. For the season, Wates is batting .309 with five home runs, 50 RBI and 14 stolen bases.

Huddle Around the Farmstros Village "Radio" on July 23

Please consider taking in the July 23 JetHawks game with the Farmstros Village via "radio". More details on a Game Listening/Twitter Experience are in my latest post.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Heck of an All-Star Line-up

Astros Director of Scouting Bobby Heck had a hand in bringing three all-stars to the Milwaukee organization. Read about it in my latest post.

Keuchel June Player of the Month

The Farmstros Village has selected Dallas Keuchel the June Player of the Month. Voting for the award wrapped up last night.

Keuchel made five starts for Corpus Christi in June. The left-hander posted a 2.18 ERA in 33 innings. He was followed in the voting by Jose Altuve, Austin Wates and Kody Hinze, who makes his Corpus Christi debut tonight.

Congratualtions to Dallas and thanks to everyone who voted.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Hinze to Bid Lancaster Farewell Tonight

Lancaster first baseman Kody Hinze will be making his final appearance with the JetHawks tonight. Following tonight's game at Clear Channel Stadium, Hinze will be traveling to Corpus Christi, where he will join the Astros AA affiliate for a series that starts Thursday.

Hinze's promotion is definitely deserved, but the details of the move have been unique. If memory serves, most promotions of Astros prospects have been announced after the player has moved, or at least when he is on the way to the airport. However, tonight will be Hinze's second game with the JetHawks since the promotion was announced. The JetHawks have even used Hinze's departure in an attempt to promote ticket sales for tonight's game in California.

The unique circumstances of Hinze's move to Corpus Christi is likely related to the Hooks' schedule more than anything else. The Hooks finish a series in Springdale, Arkansas tonight (Northwest Arkansas Naturals) before making the trip back to Whataburger Field to meet the Tulsa Drillers and Alyson Footer on Thursday night.

Alyson in WhataburgerLand

With Kody Hinze reportedly set to join the Hooks in time for their Thursday game this week at Whataburger Field, it is now finally official that it is Alyson Footer's world, and we are all just living in it.

Several weeks ago, shortly after Jose Altuve was promoted to AA, Footer, the Astros Senior Director of Social Media, blogged her plans to visit the Astros AA affiliate in Southeast Texas and take in a few games July 7-9. Since that announcement, the Astros have also added catcher Chris Wallace to their roster. In addition, Dallas Keuchel and J.D. Martinez are still in AA (maybe they are waiting until after Alyson's visit to head north to Oklahoma City?).

A quick look at what Footer will see on the Whataburger Field after driving her Toytoa Rav 4 down 59 South and taking a left at Victoria:

1B- Kody Hinze
2B or 3B- Jose Altuve
SS- Jonathan Villar
2B or 3B- Jimmy Paredes
OF- JD Martinez
OF- Jacob Goebbert
OF- TJ Steele
DH or OF- Jon Gaston
C- Chris Wallace

Further,depending on how the rotation is worked, she will see Dallas Keuchel take the mound (his final start as a Hook?) on Friday or Saturday.

I hope she can find the time to at least send us a postcard.

Paredes and Kvasnicka were All-Stars too

While two Astros of the Past will take the field as all-stars in Arizona next week, two Astros of the Future who replaced them were already all-stars last month. Read about it in my latest post.

Get on the Bus with the Valley Cats

For fans in the New England area, and anyone willing to make the trip from Oregon, the Tri-City Valley Cats are offering two bus trips to watch New York-Penn League baseball this summer. On July 24, fans can travel from Troy, New York to Staten Island to watch the Valley Cats take on the Yankees' affiliate. The second option is a trip to the New York-Penn League All-Star Game in Lowell, Massachusetts on August 16. See the above link for more information. Please tell the Valley Cats that Farmstros sent you.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Hey, Dallas, Xavier and J.D., Meet us at Stuckey's

Dear Mr. Nelson and Mr. Wade,

It seems to many members of the Farmstros Village that you have a few players stuck in AA Corpus Christi at the moment. With the change in ownership pending and the low attendance at Minute Maid Park, I can't help but wonder if a limited amount of money in the budget for transportation costs is what is preventing a move up the minor league ladder for these prospects. If this is the case, I think I can be of assistance.

Assuming the Oklahoma City team is traveling back to Oklahoma via bus after their game in Memphis this evening, they will be passing within 50 miles of Springdale, Arkansas, where the Corpus Christi club is playing a series with Northwest Arkansas Sunday through Tuesday. With proper coordination, it seems the players in question could meet the RedHawk bus as it passes through Ft. Smith, Arkansas on its westward journey. Perhaps there is an easy to find Stuckey's where the pick-up could take place. I'm fairly confident one of Dallas Keuchel's fans from his college days at the University of Arkansas would be willing to drive.

I hope you find this information helpful. I did some research on a cost-saving plan for promoting any home run hitting first basemen currently in Lancaster to AA; however, the closest the Hooks come to California the rest of the season is Midland, Texas.

Mike Tauser
Poet Laureate, Farmstros Village

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Lancaster JetHawks Roster

Wander Alvino
Jose Cisnero
Kirk Clark
Robert Donovan
Bobby Doran
Zachary Grimmett
Jeremiah Meiners
Wes Musick
Mike Ness
Colton Pitkin
James Robinson
Jose Trinidad-Disabled List
Shane Wolf

Rene Garcia
Federico Hernandez

Erik Castro
Jonathan Meyer
Jiovanni Mier
Andrew Simunic
Jonathan Singleton
Alex Todd

Daniel Adamson
Jordan Comadena
Grant Hogue
Austin Wates

Lexington Legends Roster

Ruben Alaniz
Tanner Bushue-Disabled
Jason Chowning
Luis Cruz
Jorge DeLeon
Brad Dydalewicz
Mike Foltynewicz
Gabriel Garcia
Murilo Gouvea
Chia-jen Lo-Disabled
David Martinez
Juan Minaya
Carlos Quevedo
Tommy Shirley-Disabled
Alexander Sogard
Brian Streilein

Ben Heath
Roberto Pena

Tyler Burnett
Delino Deshields, Jr.
Mike Kvasnicka
Jhonny Medrano-Disabled
Telvin Nash
Ben Orloff
Hector Rodriguez
Ruben Sosa

Jay Austin
Enrique Hernandez-Inactive
Emilio King
Bryce Lane-Disabled
Domingo Santana

Corpus Christi Hooks Roster

Erick Abreu
Jake Buchanan
Jarrod Cosart
Kyle Greenwalt
Chris Hicks-Disabled
Brad James-Disabled
Blake King
Daniel Meszaros
Brett Oberholtzer
Ross Seaton
Jason Stoffel
Pat Urckfitz
Henry Villar
Josh Zeid

Brian Esposito
Chris Wallace

David Flores
Kody Hinze
Wladimir Sutil-Disabled
Jose Carlos Thompson
Jimmy Van Ostrand
Jonathan Villar

Adam Bailey
Brandon Barnes
Jon Gaston
T.J. Steele

Oklahoma City Red Hawks Roster

Fernando Abad
Jonnathan Aristil
Xavier Cedeno
Paul Clemens
Sammy Gervacio
Dallas Keuchel
Arcenio Leon
Sergio Perez-Disabled
Ryan Rowland-Smith
Mickey Storey
Jose Valdez
Andy Van Hekken
Ross Wolf

Robinson Cancel
Emerson Frostad

Koby Clemens
Anderson Hernandez
Ozzie Navarro
Jose Vallejo
Brandon Wikoff

Colin DeLome
Luis Durango
Jacob Goebbert
Drew Locke

2011 Farmstros Five- Week 12

by Chris Buck

Farmstros Five Week 12- June 23-29, 2011

Corpus Christi's Dueling Southpaws

Southpaw #1:Dallas Keuchel, 23, LHP, Corpus Christi
Why? – 1.29 era, 1 GS, 7 IP, 6H, R, BB, 6 SO

Once again, Dallas is back on the list with another solid outing. He is really starting to pile up the quality outings. In fact, there may not be much more he can prove at AA. Once the Big Club starts to make some moves in the next month, you will likely see a chain reaction that pulls Keuchel up at least one level. For the season, he now has a 2.72 era over 89.1 innings pitched in 14 starts.

Southpaw #2: Xavier Cedeno, 24, LHP, Corpus Christi
Why? - 0.00 ERA, 1 GS, 6 2/3 IP, H, 14 SO

Picked up as a free agent prior to this season, whether or not Cedeno is truly a prospect is still a question. However, in his only start in Week 12 he looked like one. He retired the first 17 batters he faced before allowing his only hit in the sixth inning. He finished his outing with a Corpus Christi record 14 strikeouts. In 94 innings pitched this season (16 starts) Cedeno has a 3.54 ERA and a Texas League leading 93 strikeouts.

Austin Wates, 22, OF, Lancaster
Why? – 9-for-28, 3 R, 3 RBI, 3BB, 2SB.

Austin has not hit for a lot of power just yet, but the scouting reports indicate that he does possess some raw line-drive gap-to-gap power. This should come with more time and some age. For now, the hope is that he makes consistent contact and continues to progress. Originally drafted in the third round in 2010 draft, Wates has had a solid year in the California League. Lately, he has been hot; posting a .385/.457/.436 line in his last ten games. For the season he has a.309/.367/.395 line. Known as a good all-around athlete Wates has the defensive abilities to play anywhere in the outfield. If he continues to hit and get on-base, he has the ceiling of an everyday centerfielder in the majors with above-average hitting and defensive tools.

Chase Davidson, 21, OF, Greeneville
Why? – 8-for-23, 7 R, 6 RBI, 2 2B, 2 HR, 4BB, 3SB.

Davidson was originally drafted by the Astros in the third round of the 2008 draft, but he decided to go to Georgia. He was redrafted by the Astros this June in the 41st round. Described by Bobby Heck in 2008 as a left-handed hit collector, Chase has done just that so far; hit. For the season Davidson has a .375/.447./825 line in just 10 games. Davidson appears to have the ceiling of a player that can play at any corner, outfield or infield, and hit for a good average with some power. Time will tell. It is long way to the Majors from Rookie ball.

Mike Foltynewicz, 19, RHP, Lexington
Why? – 1.50 era, 1 GS, 6 IP, 2H, R, 3BB, 8 SO

Folty is also starting to pile up the quality outings. He got off to a bit of a slow start, but has really turned it around lately, with a 3.52 era in his last ten starts. It will be interesting to see what the Astros do with Folty and Bushue. Each have shown the ability to move up, but both are still young and Lancaster is the toughest place to pitch in baseball. My guess is that, assuming they continue to perform well the remainder of the season at Lexington, they may get moved to Corpus for the start of the 2012 season in the same way that the organization moved Lyles.

Kyle Hallock, 22, LHP, Tri-City
Why? – 0.00 era, 1 GS, 6 IP, 4H, BB, 6 SO

Hallock was drafted this June in the 10th round. He was the Friday starter for Kent State this past season and performed well, going 10-4 with a 1.91 ERA, earning MAC Pitcher of the Year honors. He runs his fastball up to 90 mph and has a hard slider to match it. For the season, in three starts he has a 2.00 era and his given up just 12 hits and one walk with 20 strikeouts in 18 innings of work.

2011 International Free Agent Signings

International Free Agents signed by the Astros since July 2, 2011:

Harold Arauz, RHP, Panama (Article,Video)
Randy Miguel Cesar, 3B, Dominican Republic
Rayderson Chevalier, RHP, Dominican Republic
Frangy Colon, RHP, Dominican Republic
Jean Carlos Cortorreal, 2B, Dominican Republic
Angel Heredia, RHP, Dominican Republic
Elieser Alexis Hernandez, RHP, Venezuela
Juan Alberton Hernandez, RHP, Dominican Republic
Tomas Lopez, RHP, Dominican Republic(Article)
Arturo Michelina, SS, Venezuela
Brian Pena, C, Dominican Republic
Luis Reynoso, SS, Dominican Republic (Video)
Jarico Reynoso, OF, Dominican Republic
Edward Santana, OF, Dominican Republic
Carlos Vasquez, RHP, Dominican Republic
Edwin Saul Villarroel, LHP, Venezuela

Friday, July 1, 2011

Star Spangled Banner

Let the International Signing Begin

A new crop of international players can begin being signed July 2. Ben Badler of Baseball America posted a list of the top 40 prospects eligible on the market this year.

Astros' 2011 International Free Agent Class

Following is a list of Astros' international crop for the calendar year which ends today (July 1, 2011):

Player(Age as of April 1, 2011, Position)-Nation-Signing Date

Luis Abad (16, RHP)- DR- October 13, 2010
Marlon Avea (17, C)- Nicaragua- September 28, 2010
Agapito Barrios (17, RHP)-Panama- July 5, 2010
Jean Batista (19, SS)-DR-November 15, 2010
Lorenzo Bonilla (16, OF)-DR- October 18, 2010
Pedro Coa (18,C)-DR- ???
Tomas DeLaCruz (18, OF)-DR- ???
Juan Delis (16,RHP)-Panama-November 1, 2010
Samil De Los Santos (17,RHP)-DR-???
Edison Frias (21, RHP)-DR-???
Geronimo Franzua (17, LHP)-DR- September 25, 2010
Teoscar Heranandez (18, OF)-DR-???
Javier Lozano (17, RHP)-El Salvador-October 26, 2010
Michael Medina (17,IF)-DR-October 12, 2010
Victor Mesa (17, RHP)-DR-June 2011
Cristian Murillo (17, OF)- Colombia-???
Ariel Ovando (17, OF)-DR-July 7, 2010
Juan Santana (16, IF)-DR-December 13, 2010
Kelvin Santana (20, RHP)-DR-June 2011
Yoel Silfa (17, IF)- DR-July 4, 2010
Javier Saucedo (17, LHP)-Panama- July 2, 2010

NOTE: Most of this information taken from the Astros' 2011 Media Guide. A few players without signing dates have shown up on the DSL Astros roster this season, and I assume they were signed after the time that book went to press.

The Amazing Catchers of Oklahoma County

For an organization whose major league catchers of the moment are best known for impersonating Mario Mendoza's weaker brothers, the Astros have assembled a trio of Bronx Bombers behind the plate in Oklahoma City. In over 200 at bats for the RedHawks this season, Robinson Cancel, Brian Esposito, and Emerson Frostad have combined to bat .327 with four home runs and 28 RBI. What's more Esposito and Frostad have made three appearances as pitchers as well, combining for 2 2/3 scoreless innings.

Astros add a Storey

This article indicates that the Astros acquired right-handed reliever Mickey Storey from Oakland. Storey was pitching for Midland.

June Player of the Month Candidates

I just posted the candidates for Farmstros June Player of the Month. Check it out in my latest post.