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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Minor League Night at Minute Maid September 24

The Astros have scheduled their Minor League MVP Night for Saturday, September 24 at 6:05. Click on this link for more information about the event and the special ticket offer for the evening's game against the Rockies. If you have further questions, you can contact Jeff Troncoso in the Astros' ticket office (713-259-8318).

For the sake of full disclosure, Farmstros will be promoting this event several times over the next few weeks and receiving two tickets to the September 24 game as compensation.

Who Will Wear a Star Next

10 players have made their big league debut with the Astros this season. In my latest post, I take a look at five candidates to have a star on their cap soon.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Lucas...William...Bradley... Harrell

Lucas Harrell said goodbye for the season with a flourish to the fans in Oklahoma City. Harrell made his final start in the Sooner state Saturday night, allowing three hits and one unearned run in eight innings of work. Harrell has a 1.72 ERA in nine starts for the RedHawks.

Harrell's final AAA start of the season is scheduled for Thursday, September 1 in New Orleans.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Florida Finale Friday

As I write this post, the Astros' Gulf Coast League entry is on the field in Kissimmee playing its final game of the 2011 season. Many of the players on the team are likely returning to Kissimmee in a few weeks for the Fall Instructional League, which begins in mid-September.

A few GCL Astros to make note of for future reference:

Chris Epps, 22, OF. Epps was drafted in the 45th Round out of Clemson in June. He was 34 for 112 with three doubles, three triples, four home runs, 25 RBI and six stolen bases in 35 Gulf Coast League games before being promoted to Tri-City.

Blake Ford, 23, RHP. Ford leads the GCL team with eight saves. He has posted a 1.99 ERA in 17 appearances. The 45th Round Draft pick has 20 strikeouts in 22 2/3 IP.

Evan Grills, 19, LHP. Grills was drafted in 2010 (10th Round). He has made 13 appearances this summer, posting a 3.00 ERA and striking out 29 in 33 innings.

Luca Martone, 18, IF. Martone, from Italy, is in his second season with the GCL Astros. His bat has woken up in August. Heading in to today's game, he was batting .299 over-all. In 13 August games, Martone is 13 for 33. In today's game, he has a double and a single through six innings.

Yonathan Mejia, 18, IF. 2011 is Mejia's first season in the United States. He is batting .329 with eight doubles and 25 RBI.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Another Quality AAA Home Start for Keuchel

Dallas Keuchel's second home start since being called up to AAA Oklahoma City was even better than his first. Keuchel, who was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, went seven innings allowing four hits and one run for the RedHawks. Keuchel's ERA in two starts in a home uniform for Oklahoma City is 1.38. He has made three starts on the road and posted a hefty 19.16 ERA.

Keuchel was relieved by Jordan Lyles, who made his first appearance since rejoining the RedHawks' staff. Lyles allowed five hits and four runs in 1 1/3 innings.

"Mr. 13.50 ERA" is Still a Legend

Tommy Shirley allowed his first earned runs as a professional Thursday night in his first start for the Lexington Legends. Entering the contest, Shirley had pitched 28 innings between Tri-City and the GCL Astros without allowing an earned run since being drafted in the ninth round of the 2010 draft. Shirley shutout Asheville in the first inning before allowing three runs in the second frame.

Mr. 0.00 ERA is a Legend

Tommy Shirley has taken his 0.00 professional ERA to Lexington. Tommy Shirley, who has yet to allow an earned run as a professional pitcher has been promoted from Tri-City to Lexington. Since being drafted in the ninth round of the 2010 draft Shirley has pitched 28 innings and struck out 41 batters while allowing one unearned run. He has only pitched 11 innings this season between the Gulf Coast League Astros and Tri-City after recovering from a knee injury.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011



September 5- Adam Bailey, David Flores (2)

September 4- Drew Locke, Federico Hernandez,2, Jonathan Meyer, Daniel Adamson, Adam Bailey (6)

September 3- Erik Castro(Grand Slam), Andrew Simunic, Bryce Lane (3)

September 2- Miles Hamblin (1)

September 1- Bubby Williams (1)

August 31- Miles Hamblin, Chris Epps, T.J. Steele, Andrew Simunic (4)

August 30- Drew Locke, Chris Johnson, Brandon Barnes (3)

August 29- George Springer, Chris Johnson, Jonathan Meyer, Delino DeShields, Jr., Domingo Santana, Emilio King (6)

August 28- Brett Wallace, Jonathan Villar (2)

August 27- Telvin Nash, Emilio King, Drew Locke (3)

August 26- Ben Heath, Michael Kvasnicka, Jon Gaston, Kody Hinze, Chris Johnson (5)

August 25- Delino DeShields, Jr., Domingo Santana, Jonathan Meyer (3)

August 24- Justin Shults, 2, Neiko Johnson, Jacke Healey(Grand Slam), Domingo Santana, Emilio King, Ben Orloff, Brandon Wikoff, Anderson Hernandez (9)

August 23- J.R. Towles, Zachary Johnson, Darwin Rivera, Telvin Nash, Roberto Pena(Grand Slam), Brandon Wikoff (6)

Today's RedHawks' game by the Numbers

20, 3.08, 3252, 12:05, 1340

As a math aficianado, the numbers of baseball have always fascinated me. This afternoon's Oklahoma City RedHawks game in Iowa is no exception:

20- RedHawks infielder Anderson Hernandez enters the contest with a 20-game hitting streak. During the streak Hernandez is 36 for 87 with seven doubles and two triples.

3.08- RedHawks scheduled starter Andy Van Hekken has a 3.08 ERA, the second-lowest in the Pacific Coast League.

3252- It has been 3252 days since Van Hekken last pitched in the major leagues.

12:05 - Today's game is an afternoon contest starting at 12:05. After today's game, both teams travel from Iowa to Oklahoma City for a 5-game series.

1340- You can listen to J.P. Shadrick's call of the game at

These Eight could be TBA

Pitchers in the Astros' farm system with experience as starters should get their resume ready.

According to the Astros' website, the club is keeping its lips sealed about the replacement for Jordan Lyles, who has been sent to Oklahoma City in an arm-saving move. Lyles' turn in the rotation would have been on Thursday, the first game of the San Francisco series.

Friday would be Henry Sosa's turn to make his fourth big league start. However, as of this morning, Friday's probable starter is still listed as TBA. Added to this rotation uncertainty is the possibility of Brett Myers and/or Wandy Rodriguez being moved from the roster in a trade in the near future.

For those of you who care to speculate about the starting rotation possibilities, here's a rundown of the latest starts for six starters and two relievers in the organization. (Please note: Clemens, Cossart, and Van Hekken are not on the 40-man roster at this time.)

J.A. Happ, LHP, Oklahoma City
Last Pitched: Sunday- 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R

In three starts for the RedHawks, Happ has a 1.50 ERA.

Aneury Rodriguez, RHP, Houston
Last Pitched: Monday- 2 1/3 IP in relief

The Rule 5 acquisition has made eight starts in the big leagues this season.

Henry Sosa, RHP, Houston
Last Pitched: Sunday- 5 IP vs. San Francisco

Sosa has made three starts for the Astros with a 6.35 ERA.

Lucas Harrell, RHP, Oklahoma City
Last Pitched: Monday- 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R

Harrell has a 2.03 ERA in eight starts for the RedHawks.

Andy Van Hekken, LHP, Oklahoma City
Last Pitched: Thursday- 5 IP, 6 H, 1 R

Van Hekken and the 2nd best ERA in the PCL (3.08) are scheduled to start this afternoon in Iowa.

Paul Clemens, RHP, Corpus Christi
Last Pitched: Sunday- 6 IP, 3 R

In four starts for the Hooks, Clemens, acquired in the Michael Bourn trade, has a 1.05 ERA.

Jarred Cossart, RHP, Corpus Christi
Last Pitched: Friday- 6 IP, 1 H, O R

Cossart, who was part of the Hunter Pence trade, has a 3.38 in four Texas League starts.

Wesley Wright, LHP, Houston.
Last Pitched: 1 IP on Sunday

Wright is currently in the Astros' bullpen; however, he made three starts in Oklahoma City this season.

Homers for Houston

For several seasons, this blog has supported a Houston-based charity called the Houston Food Bank. This organization's mission is "Leading the Fight Against Hunger".

As the minor league season draws to a close, I invite you to participate in an online event called HOMERS FOR HOUSTON.

Over the final two weeks of the 2011 season, the Astros minor league teams have 81 games scheduled. Please consider pledging a set amount to donate to the Houston Food Bank for every home run that the affiliates hit during those 81 games. (If you choose to participate in this event, you can contribute directly through the Houston Food Bank website.)

Farmstros will contribute $5 for every HOMER FOR HOUSTON.

I realize that many readers of this blog don't live in the Houston area. If you would feel more comfortable supporting a hunger relief organization that serves your area or a charity that you are more familiar with, I encourage you to do that as well.

I am truly grateful for the opportunity to share my love of baseball and the Astros' farm system with my loyal readers, and I appreciate your consideration of this cause which is important to me.


Monday, August 22, 2011

The Countdown Begins

After Monday night's games, there will only be two weeks remaining in the minor league season. The seven Astros' affiliates still playing (DSL Astros wrapped up their season Saturday) have a total of 81 games scheduled.

Games remaining in last two weeks:

GCL Astros- 5 games (Season ends August 26)

Greeneville- 8 games (Season ends August 30)

Tri-City- 13 games (Season ends September 4)

Lexington- 13 games (Season ends September 5)

Lancaster- 14 games (Season ends September 5)

Corpus Christi- 14 games (Season ends September 5)

Oklahoma City- 14 games (Season ends Septmeber 5)

Springer Headed to Tri-City Tuesday

According to an article on the team's website, Astros' 1st Round Draft pick George Springer will join the Tri-City Valley Cats Tuesday. The Valley Cats will host a three-game series with Brooklyn starting Tuesday night.

Coming to Minute Maid in 2016?

On September 1, 2016, we will hear about a solar eclipse and maybe some new Astros players. Read about it in my latest post.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Goff and the Hooks

Stephen Goff with has recently posted the fruit of his interviews with numerous Houston prospects currently in Corpus Christi with the Hooks. For your convenience here are links to Goff's articles:

Jose Altuve

Xavier Cedeno

Kody Hinze

Dallas Keuchel (at All-Star Game)

Dallas Keuchel

J.D. Martinez

Jimmy Paredes

Ross Seaton

T.J. Steele

Henry Villar

Jonathan Villar

Chris Wallace

Martone says Ciao to Mendozini Line

It took until the last month of his second season with the GCL Astros, but Italian native Luca Martone is finally stringing some hits together. The 18-year old infielder from Anzio, Italy went two for four in Saturday's contest to raise his average for the season to .283. He has three doubles, two RBI and two stolen bases.

Martone entered August with a .204 average, which was better than his 2010 average of .173 in 52 at bats. Despite the improvement, Martone was still too close to the Mendozini Line for him to be more than a blip in a GCL Astros box score. However, with less than a week to go in the season, Martone has gone 10 for 26 in his 11 August games and left the .200 in his rearview mirror for the time being. The Gulf Coast League season wraps up Friday, August 26.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Re-Rookie (Andy Van Hekken's Song)

Is the subject of the next great baseball movie pitching in Oklahoma City? Find out in my latest post.

Kirk Clark-Save Guy

An undrafted free agent is on track to lead the Astros' organization in saves for the second straight season. Despite several rough stretches this season which have led to a balloon-like 6.42 ERA, Lancaster's Kirk Clark has the most saves in the Houston minor league system. Clark nailed down #18 Thursday night in the JetHawks 44th win of 2011. Clark, who the Astros signed out of Creighton after he went undrafted in 2009, saved an organizational-high 29 games for Lexington in 2010. With 17 games left in the season, Clark is five saves ahead of Lexington's Jorge DeLeon, who has 13 saves.

Here's some bonus save information from What the Heck, Bobby?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Short but Effective Night for Van Hekken

Andy Van Hekken allowed only one run in five innings for Oklahoma City tonight lowering his ERA to 3.08. Van Hekken was pinch hit for in the fifth inning of his 16th start of the season. He gave up six hits and four walks, striking out three.

Van Hekken is #2, so he Tries Harder

When Andy Van Hekken makes his 16th start for Oklahoma City tonight, he will begin the game with the second best ERA in the Pacific Coast League. Van Hekken,32, who has also made 16 relief appearances for the RedHawks in 2011, has a 3.14 ERA in 109 innings pitched. He trails only Luis Mendoza, 27 of Omaha who has a 2.30 ERA.

Tonight's game against Reno is scheduled to begin at 7:05 p.m. (Minute Maid Park time).

These Guys are Advanced

The baseball scenery has changed drastically for outfielder Adam Bailey and infielder Alex Todd since April.

When the 2011 season started, Adam Bailey was beginning his first full professional sesaon in the Lexington outfield. Bailey played 79 games for the Legends batting .282 with 16 home runs and 53 RBI before he was moved up a level to Lancaster. He only played 30 games with Lancaster battting .289 with five home runs and 27 RBI, before the ripple effect of Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn being traded led to an opening in the Corpus Christi outfield. Bailey has filled this spot for five games now, batting .429 with one home run and four RBI. Within the organization, his combined total of 22 home runs and 84 RBI trail only his Corpus Christi teammate, Kody Hinze.

Alex Todd was still at Sonoma St. in April. Houston drafted him in the 27th Round of this June's draft. After signing, he made his made to Greeneville, where he played 33 games, struggling to a .159 average with only 11 RBI. However, injuries and other moves left an infield opening at High A Lancaster, which was filled recently by Todd. He has hit in five of his first six games for the JetHawks going 7 for 21 in the California League with three doubles and a home run

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Harrell Throws Seven Scoreless for Red Hawks

All hail the pitcher with four names! All hail the pitcher with four names!!

Wednesday night Oklahoma City right-hander Lucas William Bradley Harrell gave the RedHawks his best performance since joining the team a month ago. Harrell allowed two hits and no runs in seven innings in his seventh start for the Astros' AAA affiliate. Harrell, who is on the Astros' 40-man roster, has a 2.17 ERA in 37 1/3 innings pitched for Oklahoma City.

Thanks to Darren Headrick of the RedHawks' radio team who tweeted that Harrell took a no-hitter into the sixth inning.

I Would appreciate your Vote

Farmstros is a finalist in the Sports category of Sports Radio 610 in Houston's Most Valuable Blogger contest. I will be grateful if you show your appreciation of this blog by voting for it. You can vote once a day between now and September 9. The winner of the contest receives a $50 Amazon Gift card. Please vote for Farmstros.

Magee Leaves Mendoza Line in his Rear View Mirror with Great Speed

When Greeneville's Josh Magee stepped into the batter's box to lead off Saturday's game at Bristol, his batting average was exactly .200. By the time, Magee reached first base on a single in the top of the fourth inning Wendesday night in Pulaski, the Mendoza Line was a distant memory.

Over 13 plate appearances, Magee,the Astros' 18th round selection in the 2010 draft, reached base 13 times with 12 hits and one walk. During the streak, which ended when he was called out on strikes in the top of the seventh inning Wednesday, Magee raised his batting average seventy points to .270.

A breakdown of Magee's 13 plate appearances:

August 13 @Bristol
T1- Double
T2- Infield Single
T4- Infield Single
T7- Walk
T9- Bunt Single

August 14 @Bristol
T1- Double
T3- Double
T5- Single
T7- Single
T9- RBI Single

August 16 @Pulaski
T1- Single
T3- Single
T4- Single

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Paul Clemens, 0.00 ERA to make Whataburger Debut Sunday

Most of the fans who go to Whataburger Field to watch the Hooks may not realize it, but Corpus Christi pitcher Paul Clemens has been anchoring the Hooks' staff since being acquired from Atlanta in the Michael Bourn trade at the end of July. Clemens pitched seven scoreless innings at Springfield Monday night in his third start in the Texas League.

In those three starts, he has allowed thirteen hits and just one unearned run in 19 2/3 innings. However, all Clemens' pitches as a Hook have been thrown in a road uniform. He should make his home debut on Sunday night, when he faces Springfield again, this time at Whataburger Field.

Ironically, if the Hooks' rotation holds through Labor Day Clemens will only have one more start at Whataburger Field after Sunday's outing, with two more starts to occur on the road.

All-Star Starting Lineup includes three ValleyCats

All three of Tri-City's all-star selections are scheduled to be in the starting lineup for the National League team in tonight's New York-Penn League All-Star Game in Lowell, Massachusetts. Kyle Hallock, LHP, is slated to be the starting pitcher for the NL. Hallock has made nine starts for Tri-City this season, posting a 1.79 ERA with 43 strikeouts in 45 1/3 innings.

The other two Valley Cat all-stars are third baseman Matt Duffy and outfielder Justin Gominsky. Duffy is batting .300 with 17 doubles, one triple, 32 RBI and 33 runs scored for Tri-City. Gominsky is batting .259 with 34 runs scored, eight doubles and 11 stolen bases in 50 games.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Springer, Armstrong Sign with Astros

The Astros have announced that they have signed first round pick draft pick George Springer and third round pick Jack Armstrong. The Astros have signed 35 of their 50 2011 draft picks and all of their top 13 picks.

Either Way, Springer could be a Big Part of Houston Baseball History

Even if he doesn't sign with the Astros by today's deadline, George Springer could still play a part in Houston's baseball history.

Springer has had discussions with the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League. This is his back-up plan if a deal cannot be reached. If this back-up plan is put into action, I assume Springer would also be a Duck in 2012 until the draft, in an attempt to maintain/build up his resume. The 2012 Atlantic League schedule will be announced in Septemeber/October, but it is possible that the Ducks with Georger Springer could be playing against the Sugarland Skeeters at Star Tex Power Field April 26, 2012 (Tentative home opener).

I still get the feeling that Springer will sign before tonight's deadline. However, how ironic would it be if he ended up being the first batter ever in a Sugarland Skeeters' game?

Keuchel Looks to Turn it around in AAA at Home

Dallas Keuchel, who was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is scheduled to make his first AAA start in the Sooner state tonight when Oklahoma City takes on Colorado Springs. Keuchel's first two AAA starts took place on the road and were less than stellar. He pitched a total of 5 1/3 innings in Las Vegas and Tucson, allowing 18 hits and 18 runs.

Footer Demoted to Class A

Astros' Senior Director of Social Media Alyson Footer filed the following reports from Lexington and Lancaster.


Delino DeShields, Jr.

Rodney Linares on J.D. Martinez

Telvin Nash

Michael Kvasnicka

Michael Foltynewicz


Ballpark Food at Clear Channel Stadium

Jonathan Singleton/Jiovanni Mier

How are the Nine New Guys Doing?

My latest post is a brief look at the Astros' nine trade deadline acquistions and their performance in their new homes.

Some High Draft Picks went unsigned and all I Got were these Compensatory Picks

With the draft signing deadline less than 13 hours away (tonight at 11:01 pm, Minute Maid Park time) and the Astros 1st and 3rd Round Picks still at-large, here's a quick overview of what happens in the event that those high-level draftees don't sign:

If George Springer ends up unsigned (and in a Long Island Ducks uniform?), the Astros will receive the pick directly after the 11th pick in the 2012 draft as compensation. (This is the case for all unsigned 1st and 2nd Round Draft picks.)

If third-round selection Jack Armstrong remains unsigned through the deadline, the Astros will receive a compensation pick between the third and fourth rounds of the 2012 draft. The Astros received similar compensation in the 2009 draft for their failure to sign 2008 3rd Round Pick, Chase Davidson. They used that pick to select Jonathan Meyer, currently with Lancaster.

The End Begins this Week

Labor Day and the end of the minor league season is three weeks away. However, the Astros' Dominican affiliate begins the ending this week, as their season wraps up Saturday. The DSL Astros have nine games remaining in the next six days with three double-headers necessitated by rainouts.

Heading into the final week, the 23-37 DSL squad has been a power explosion compared to previous DSL Astros teams. In 60 games, the 2011 DSL Astros have 27 home runs (Teoscar Hernandez leads the way with six.) The Dominican Astros had a total of 36 home runs in the last three seasons combined: 2010- 14 (69 games); 2009- 11 (64 games); 2008- 11 (71 games).

Long Island Ducks vs. Road Warriors 8/16/2011 at Bethpage Ballpark??

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Hooks Break 12-Game Skid

After surrendering a two-run lead in the bottom of the ninth inning, Brandon Barnes and T.J. Steele drove in runs in the top of the 10th inning to give Corpus Christi a 5-3 victory over Springfield Sunday night. The win snapped the Hooks 12-game losing streak, the longest in the Texas League this season.

Happy 350, Andy Van Hekken

On the occasion of Andy Van Hekken's 350th minor league pitching appearance last night, Steve Vedder of the The Grand Rapids Press posted an article on the Michigan-native's well-traveled baseball career. Van Hekken celebrated the milestone by allowing one run in 5 2/3 innings pithced for Oklahoma City against Colorado Springs.

Van Hekken's career has found him playing in the Farmstros Village since the middle of the 2008 season.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Van Hekken to Make 350th minor league appearance

Oklahoma City Andy Van Hekken's start tonight against Colorado Springs will be his 350th appearance as a minor league appearance. Van Hekken who made five major league starts for the Tigers in 2002 (including a complete game shutout in his debut on September 3), has not been back to the big league since. His 349 appearances to date include several seasons in independent leagues. Van Hekken, in his fourth season in the Astros' organization, has been the RedHawks' most consistent pitcher this season, both as a starter and a reliever.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Valenzuela on a Streak for Tri-City

Rafael Valenzuela has yet to go hitless in a game for the Tri-City Valley Cats. Since being assigned to Tri-City at the beginning of the month, Valenzuela has had at least one hit in all ten games he has played. Over-all, he is 14 for 35 with five doubles, two home runs and seven RBI in the New York-Penn League.

The Astros signed Valenzuela as an un-drafted free agent last summer out of the University of Arizona. Between the GCL Astros and Greeneville in 2010, Valenzuela batted .287 with seventeen doubles, three triples, four home runs and 23 RBI in 50 games. He missed a majority of this season after undergoing hamate bone surgery. He was promoted to Tri-City after a four game stint with the Astros' Gulf Coast League affiliate.

Eye Witness Account of Monday's Legends' Game

BryanTSC lives in Greenville, South Carolina, where at least once a year, he has the opportunity to see the Lexington Legends play when they pass through. He filed the following report of the Lexington/Greenville game played Monday night, August 8. This is the 2nd Annual Farmstros Report from Greenville by BryanTSC as he posted a similar report in April 2010.

Once again, I have braved being a visiting team's fan in a minor league city to bring you this recap of Monday night’s game between the Lexington Legends and Greenville Drive.

With rain threatening about an hour before game time, I was worried that I might witness a repeat of last year’s recapped game, which was highlighted by windy conditions and sloppy play, but thankfully the storm blew away as quickly as it blew in, and conditions were as good as one could hope for on an August evening. That did not, however, keep away the sloppy play, as the two teams combined for 6 errors, and misplayed a few others without drawing the ire of the local scorekeeper.

But the important part and the reason you’ve read the past two paragraphs is how did our boys perform. Unfortunately the three prospects we hear the most about, DDJ, Bushue, and Folty weren’t in the lineup. However, few were talking about J.D. Martinez and Jose Altuve last season, so maybe I saw our next surprise rookie starter anyway. Legends starter Carlos Quevedo looks very promising, mixing his low to mid 90’s (according to the stadium gun) fastball with his off speed offerings to keep the Drive off balance, with the exception of the 4th inning, when three straight singles by Greenville were quickly followed by a grand slam by the Drive’s 3B David Renfroe. Quevedo immediately settled back down to retire then next six batters.

Greenville threatened again in the bottom of the 6th when SS Xander Bogaerts singled on the pitch immediately following a dropped foul pop by C Ben Heath. The next batter 1B Michael Almanzar then doubled off the left field wall and it looked like Bogaerts was going to score. However, Legends LF Tyler Burnett, after having a little trouble fielding the ricochet off the wall, fired a laser to Heath to throw the runner out at home by several steps. While that was his only OF assist of the night, Burnett had a few throws that even had Drive fans remarking approvingly. Quevedo then retired the remaining two batters of the inning without drama to finish the night with 6 IP 8H 4ER 0BB 5K. Carlos Quevedo is one to watch as he moves up the ranks, especially given his outstanding control.

The next pitcher for the Legends was my surprise of the night. I had not heard of Alex Sogard prior to the game, but I certainly paid attention once I saw him pitch. While at 24 he may be more advanced than his Low A opponents, he was very impressive Monday night. He showed good command and life on his low to mid 90’s fastball, while changing speeds and keeping the Drive off balance for most of his three innings.

Unfortunately, the Legends fell in the bottom of the tenth on a two out walkoff HR by Bogaerts given up by David Martinez.

Other Legends notables from the game included 1B Jhonny Medrano’s 5th HR of the season, a 2 run shot to left in the 2nd, and 3B Michael Kvasnicka enjoying a 3-5 night at the plate.

While it would be easy to negatively compare this year’s team to the overachievers I saw come through town last season with the Legends (Altuve, Martinez, Hinze, Goebbert, Mier), I still think this is a solid crop of farmstros, with some players that should be fun to watch rise through the ranks over the next few seasons.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Another Villager is Blogging

A new blog was recently launched as "An homage to Bobby Heck's attempts to rebuild the Astros' farm system". Here's a link to a post about the special appeal of recent draftee Steve Martin. If you ever listened to King Tut or if you have an affinity for obscure African nations, this is a post for you.

Mr. "0.00" is back on the Hill

Read about Tommy Shirley and his still perfect professional ERA in my latest post.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Honestly, Drew, I am Still in Boston

I just returned from a family vacation. While checking box scores, I found noticed that while I was visiting his hometown of Boston, Oklahoma City outfielder Drew Locke put up four straight multiple-hit games. In addition, he had back to back six-RBI games on Monday and Tuesday. I was in Boston from Saturday through Tuesday. During that span, Locke was 10 for 19 with three doubles, three home runs (one grand slam) and 14 RBI.

So far in tonight's game, which started after I was back in Houston, Locke is 0 for 2 for the RedHawks. If Drew happens to ask, let's tell him that I've decided to take up residence in Paul Revere's House until the end of baseball season.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Farmstros Returns August 11

I will be away from the computer until the morning of Thursday, August 11. Please feel free to follow the Astros of the Future in my absence.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Shuck's on His Way to Minute Maid at the Highest Speed

Oklahoma City outfielder J.B. Shuck is now Houston Astro outfielder J.B. Shuck. Shuck will be called up to replace Luis Durango. Since participating in the AAA All-Star Game in July, Shuck has batted .437 (31 for 71) with four doubles, three triples and 17 runs scored. His performance has him in the lead in the current voting for the Farmstros July Player of the Month.

Shuck follows Jason Castro and Jordan Lyles, in becoming the third member of the Astros' 2008 draft class to reach the big leagues. Shuck introduced himself to the Farmstros Village near the end of this year's spring training. Also, Lee Street interviewed J.B. for Farmstros in August 2010.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Live with Lasky- The Prize Arrives

native_astro just tweeted some pictures of the autographed baseball he received as a prize during Live with Lasky on July 23. Thanks to Kirk Clark for collecting autographs of his JetHawk teammates. Also, thanks to Jeff Lasky for coordinating the shipping.

I am Curious about Tomorrow's Transaction

I am not going to lose any sleep over it, but I am sincerely curious to see what move the Astros make to replace Luis Durango, who has been sent back to Oklahoma City.

It took me a while to catch on when Durango was promoted a few days ago, but eventually it made sense. The Astros need a centerfielder to fill in until Jordan Schafer's finger is ready to go, apparently 10 to 14 days. Durango fit that bill, plus he is on the 40-man roster so a promotion was logistically easy.

Now three days after his promotion, Durango is going back to AAA and as far as I can tell, Schafer is still disabled. If I were Adrian Monk, I'd drive down to Minute Maid Park and start moving my hands around to see if I could find any clues.

There are no outfielders left on the 40-man roster to promote, so an outfield replacement would require a new entry to said 40-man roster.

Is it time for J.B. Shuck? His not a centerfielder, and has no power, but he has been hitting for average lately.

Is it already time for Jacob Goebbert? He could play RF, with Bogusevic and Bourgeois in CF.

Or to the chagrin of Long Island Ducks fans everywhere, will the club sign George Springer in the morning and pencil him into CF for Friday night's game against the Brewers?

Or will they just forgo another outfielder and bring up Tommy Manzella?

Fear not, Steve Campbell, I am not "exorcised" about this question, but I am looking forward to seeing who the new Astro will be tomorrow.

Dallas Keuchel in AAA tonight

Left-hander Dallas Keuchel is scheduled to make his AAA debut for Oklahoma City tonight. Keuchel will take the mound for the RedHawks in Las Vegas. The game starts at 9:05 p.m. (Minute Maid Park time)

Keuchel was promoted to AAA after making 20 starts this season for AA Corpus Christi. He had 3.17 ERA with 76 strikeouts and 116 hits allowed in 127 2/3 AA innnings pitched.

Thanks to Brett Wallace, Van Hekken is a Push

Newcomer Brett Wallce picked up Andy Van Hekken, who had one of his worst starts in more than a month Wednesday night. Wallace hit a two-run double in the top of the 9th to give Oklahoma City a come-from-behind win over Las Vegas and leave Van Hekken with a no decision. Wallace, who was playing in his first game for the RedHawks since being demoted, had a total of four hits, two doubles and three RBI in his 2011 AAA debut.

Van Hekken gave up 13 hits and five earned run in only 5 2/3 IP. He saw his ERA jump to 3.27.

Ovando- Healthy and Hitting for Greeneville

17-year old outfielder Ariel Ovando had four hits including a triple for Greeneville Wednesday night, extending his hitting streak to seven games. Ovando has hit safely in eight of nine games since returning to the G-stros lineup on July 25. Injury kept Ovando off the field for about a week. Since his return, he is 12 for 38 with two doubles, two triples and 12 RBI.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Smart Money is on Andy Van Hekken tonight

If I were a gambling man, I'd bet on Andy Van Hekken to give Oklahoma City a chance to win their game in Las Vegas tonight. In his last nine starts (seven of which have been quality starts), Van Hekken has posted a 2.34 ERA in 57 2/3 innings. Andy Van Hekken carries an over-all ERA of 2.98 into this game. His mound opponent will be Toronto prospect, Kyle Drabek. The game begins at 9:05 p.m. (Minute Maid Park time)

The Amazing Race- Farmstros Edition (week 2)

The pilot episode was so much fun to write, I figured I'd give The Amazing Race- Farmstros Edition another try this week. Help the racers look for Houstonians at Whataburger Field in my latest post.

The Rotations They are a Changin'

Came gather around people wherever you roam...

With the influx of pitching, the Astros' AA and AAA rotations look very different than they did a few days ago.

Going into tonight's contests, here are the five starters (in order) for Oklahoma City and Corpus Christi:

RedHawks (Tonight @ Las Vegas)
Andy Van Hekken
Dallas Keuchel
Henry Sosa
Lucas Harrell
Nelson Figueroa

Hooks (Tonight @ San Antonio)
Ross Seaton
Paul Clemens
Brett Oberholtzer
Jonathan Aristil (I assume Aristil will keep his spot and Erick Abreu will move to the 'pen, but have no official confirmation)
Jarred Cosart

Looks Like Cosart Packed his Zeroes

When Jarred Cosart packed his bags for Corpus Christi, he remembered to pack his scoreless innings streak. Cosart, who the Astros acquired in the Hunter Pence trade, allowed only two hits and faced one batter over the minimum in his six-inning Hooks debut Tuesday night in San Antonio. Cosart hadn't allowed a run in his final 9 1/3 innings pitched for the Clearwater Threshers prior to being traded.

The Houston native will not have allowed a run in 15 1/3 innings when he makes his next scheduled start: Sunday at Whataburger Field against Midland.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Cosart to Start for the HOOKS tonight

Jarred Cosart, acquired from Philadelphia in the Hunter Pence trade, will be starting for the Hooks tonight in San Antonio. The right-hander from the Houston area (Clear Creek High School) was drafted by Philadelphia in the 38th Round in 2008. He pitched for Philadelphia's High A Clearwater this season.

The two starters acquired by the Astros from the Braves in the Michael Bourn trade will also be starting for Corpus Christi. Paul Clemens, RHP will make his Hooks' debut Thursday at San Antonio. Lefty Brett Oberholtzer will take the mound at Whataburger Field on Friday against Midland. Ross Seaton is still slated to start for the Hooks Wednesday in San Antonio.

Friday would have been Henry Sosa's day to pitch again for Corpus Christi.

Brett Wallace is the Kevin Bacon of the PCL

When Brett Wallace joins his Oklahoma City RedHawks teammates this week, his web of connections in the Pacific Coast League will increase again. Oklahoma City will be the fourth PCL team that Wallace has played for in a little over two seasons.

Wallace, 24, was drafted by the Cardinals in the 1st Round of the 2008 draft. He reached AAA Memphis during the 2009 season, only to be traded to Oakland at the trade deadline. This trade a move to Sacramento. In Sacramento, he played 44 games for current Oklahoma City manager Tony DeFrancesco. Following the 2009 season, Wallace was traded to Toronto. In 2010, before being traded to the Astros, Wallace played 95 games for Toronto's AAA affiliate, Las Vegas, the first team that Wallace is scheduled to face as an Oklahoma City RedHawk.

As an added PCL bonus, Wallace spent one day as a member of the Round Rock Express in 2010. He was assigned to the Astros' AAA affiliate after being traded from Toronto. However, by the time Wallace arrived at the stadium in Oklahoma City, where Round Rock was playing at the time, Lance Berkman had been traded and Wallace had been promoted to Minute Maid Park.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Keuchel to Start AAA on the Road

It appears that Dallas Keuchel will make his first two AAA starts away from Oklahoma City. Keuchel last pitched for Corpus Christi on Saturday meaning he could next go on Thursday at Las Vegas, if he fills Sergio Perez's spot (Perez was just made inactive). This scenario would put his second start on August 9 at Tucson. If Keuchel AAA is on Friday at Las Vegas (in released Brad Hennessey's spot), his second start would be August 10 in Tucson. The RedHawks and Keuchel return to the Sooner state Friday, August 12.

You need a Scorecard to Follow the Astros of the Future

Alyson Footer has a post that includes the latest listing of the Astros Top 10 prospects from Jim Callis at Baseball America. Callis points out the fact that none of the 10 was in the organization at the beginning of the 2010 season.

July Player of the Month Candidates

I've posted the July Player of the Month candidates at Please cast your vote by the end of Friday, August 5