farmstros can be reached at farmstros@yahoo.com

Saturday, December 31, 2011

I Appreciate your consideration.

Dear Farmstros Village,

Since September 2007, I have consistently brought positive attention to a variety of products using social media. I am a creative storyteller who makes use of platforms such as Twitter and Blogger to effectively market these products to multiple specific audiences. This blog, Farmstros, has gathered enough attention to be included as a regular contributor to the website of Houston’s Sports Radio leader. Another of my projects was awarded an Honorable Mention Award in Mayor Annise Parker’s Proud Partners competition.

As 2012 begins, I am exploring every angle possible in an attempt to parlay the skills I have developed and displayed over the past four plus years into gainful employment. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that baseball is one of my areas of expertise and interest; however, I am able to translate my communication skills into other industries.

Here is a link to a standard cover letter and my resume which highlights my accomplishments as a social media communicator. If you or one of your colleagues is looking to use social media to expand their business, I would appreciate your or their consideration.

Sincerely,
Mike Tauser
farmstros@yahoo.com

Friday, December 30, 2011

Farmstros Fifth Anniversary Season Starts Sunday


Sunday marks a new year and the beginning of the 5th season of Farmstros following the Astros of the Future. Many thanks to all the readers who have been a part of the Farmstros Village for the first four seasons. Here's a link to a fifth anniversary guide for 2012.

Just in case you are wondering what to get for the blog that has everything, here's a link to the Farmstros Wish List.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Birthday Offer from Aluminum Can Music Man

With his birthday coming up tomorrow(December 29), Aluminum Can Music Man has a special offer for fans of the environment in the Houston area.

Here's a Prospect List with Video of Cosart, Villar and Springer

Just when you thought the season for making top prospect lists(and checking them twice) was over, Baseball Banter has posted a list of the Astros Top 15. The best reason to click on this link is that it includes video of Jonathan Villar, Jarred Cosart and George Springer(twice).

Opening Day Countdown Reaches 99 Days

Thanks to Twitter and Jonas Dufek(@Jonasty41), we now know that minor league opening day is only 99 days away.(This definitely gives me an extra Spring in my step) After being drafted out of Creighton, Dufek, RHP, spent last summer with Tri-City.

Here are the games scheduled 14 weeks from tomorrow:

Oklahoma City vs. Memphis (7:05, MMP time)
Corpus Christi vs. Northwest Arkansas (7:05)
Lancaster at High Desert (9:05)
Lexington at Greensboro (6:00)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Farmstros' Amateur Status is Gone



It's official, Farmstros is now a professional. A check for $100.02 from Google arrived in the Farmstros offices today. Many thanks to all the readers who made this check possible.

A breakdown of how the money has been/will be spent:

2012 Baseball America Prospect Guide- $39.45
Skype credits- $10.30
Farmstros portion of Houston Baseball Dinner Tickets- $25.00
Donation to Houston Food Bank on behalf of the Village- $4.00
To Be Determined- $25.27

Farmstros to Launch Fifth Anniversary Season at AstroLine Broadcast site


Farmstros will commence its fifth anniversary season of following the Astros of the Future by attending AstroLine on Wednesday, January 4 at 7 p.m.(Minute Maid Park). The guest on that evening's show? New General Manager, Jeff Luhnow. If you are available, please join Mike Tauser, who will represent the Village at the MidTown location of Buffalo Wild Wings. If you can't make it to the live show, please email your question to farmstros@yahoo.com, and Mike will do his best to ask Mr. Luhnow on your behalf.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Astros on the Clock...23 Weeks and Counting

23 weeks from today, the Astros will make the first selection in the 2012 Draft. Here's a post to an article that gives a recap of how the new CBA will affect next year's draft and ensuing signings. As of now, the Astros have four of the top 100 picks on June 4(#1, #41, #64, and #96).

Follow the Texans' Play-off Opponent of the Future with us

NOTE: The Texans' opponent won't be decided until after Sunday's late afternoon games. As many as three teams could still be a possibility after the early games. I will post a play-off opponent update around 4 pm(Minute Maid Park time) on January 1, 2012.

I am a big fan of the numbers of baseball, as I hope is evidenced in this blog. However, when it comes to probabilities and permutations, there is nothing that compares with the final few weeks of the NFL season, when the play-off pictures start to come into focus. As a Houston resident, this fact is even more obvious this week with the Texans waiting to find out their first ever play-off opponent.

As week 17 of the NFL season approaches, Houston's football team is guaranteed the AFC's #3 seed, and a home play-off game on January 7 or 8. Yet, the outcomes of as many as five games this Sunday will help to determine the Texans' opponent in that historic contest.

For those of you interested in following the Texans' play-off opponent of the future, here's a breakdown of the week to come:

Sunday's Games to watch:
Jets @ Miami (Noon)
Tennessee @ Houston (Noon)
San Diego @ Oakland (3:15)
Kansas City @ Denver (3:15)
Baltimore @ Cincinnati (3:15)

A few things that are certain:
The Texans cannot face Tim Tebow and the Broncos in the first round. Denver can only make the play-offs as a division winner, in which case they would also host a first round game.

A Texans win against Tennessee eliminates the Titans from play-off contention.

A Texans loss against Tennessee eliminates the Jets from play-off contention.

THE TEXANS FOUR POSSIBLE FIRST ROUND OPPONENTS:

Cincinnnati- The Bengals are assured of the sixth spot in the play-offs if they knock off Baltimore Sunday. If they lose Sunday, Cincinnati also books a trip to Reliant if the Jets lose and Denver and/or Oakland loses.

Tennessee- If the Titans win Sunday two scenarios let them return to Reliant Stadium the next weekend.
1) Cincinnati loses, Oakland and/or Denver loses and the Jets win or
2) Cincinnati loses, Oakland and Denver wins and the Jets lose.

NOTE: Tennessee needs to avoid a head to head tie with Cincinnati(the Bengals beat the Titans this season). The Titans' hope lies in three-way ties with Cincinnati and the Jets or Cincinnati and Oakland.

New York Jets- The Jets need a win and losses by Cincinnati, Tennessee and Oakland and/or Denver.

Oakland- The Raiders will find themselves in Reliant Stadium for the second time this season if:

1) They win, Cincinnati loses, Denver wins, and the Jets and Tennessee lose.
or
2) They win, Cincinnati loses, Denver wins and the Jets win.

NOTE: The Raiders can also make the play-offs if they win and the Broncos lose. In this case, Oakland would win the West and host a first-round game.

Most of my research was taken from the Yahoo! NFL Play-off Scenario Generator

Saturday, December 24, 2011

And to All a Green Night

This Christmas Eve, Aluminum Can Music Man has just released his Green Christmas cartoon. If you have a chance, please check out this recycling superhero's holiday adventure.

As Aluminum Can Music Man might say, Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Green Night.

Farmstros Got Some New Twitter Widgets for Christmas

Thanks to Twitter, the Farmstros stockings were filled with two new Twitter widgets just in time for Christmas. Now, when you visit Farmstros, be sure to look on the right side of the page to find the latest tweets 1) from the players and 2) from the affiliates and other notable followers of the Astros' and their farm system.

Thanks, Twitter

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Interview with Neiko Johnson

Jonathan Hacohen of MLB Reports has posted an article on Neiko Johnson, who spent 2011 with the Tri-City Valley Cats. The article includes a Q&A with Johnson, who the Astros signed as an undrafted free agent last summer.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What Does New Ownership mean to the Future of the Astros?

Cash Kruth of MLB.com posted an article, in which he analyzes the effect of recent baseball ownership changes and speculates on what Jim Crane's arrival may mean to the Astros future.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Barring a 10-man Rotation, Some of these Guys will be RedHawks

Zachary Levine did a nice rundown of the 10 starting pitchers currently on the Astros 40-man roster. Even if one of the 10 gets traded before the 2012 season, several of these pitchers will find themselves starting for the Oklahoma City RedHawks in April 2012.

Here's a guess of Oklahoma City's starters for its first five games:

April 5 vs. Memphis- Dallas Keuchel
April 6 vs. Memphis- Paul Clemens
April 7 vs. Memphis- Kyle Weiland
April 8 vs. Memphis- Sergio Perez
April 9 vs. Nashville- Aneury Rodriguez

How Would Koby Clemens Look in a Skeeters' Uniform?

The Sugarland Skeeters, who are bringing AL (Atlantic League) baseball to the Houston area a year ahead of the Astros, are planning to reveal "the newest additions to the team" on or after December 22 if they get 3000 followers on Facebook by that time.

This may be an opporunity for the Skeeters to announce the signing of a few "big name" free agents for their inaugural season in 2012(including maybe a few players who were in the Astros' system in 2011?) . However, the likely scenario is that the Skeeters are making an online push to sell a few jerseys to last-minute Christmas shoppers.

A third option? they are doing both. I wonder what affect a press conference with Santa Claus and the newest Skeeter, Koby Clemens(who to date has reportedly not signed with anyone) would have on SugarLand's season ticket sales this Christmas season?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Luhnow Chat Transcript

Jeff Luhnow held his first online chat with fans Monday evening. If, like me, you missed the chat here is a link to the full transcript. Luhnow ended the chat with an indication that he will be doing it again next month.

Hey Comadena, Put Down the Terrible Towel!

Jordan,

I am tired of your act. Your cheering for the Steelers on Twitter did not bother me too much when the Texans were only playing for positions in the draft. However, now that your beloved black and gold is in a battle with the Texans for play-off seeding, I would expect a little more discretion on your part.

The football team in the hometown of the baseball team you play for, the team that pays your salary, is fighting against injuries, sweating and bleeding in hopes of a first-ever Super Bowl trip and you have the audacity to openly proclaim your love and support of the city of Houston's longtime football enemy. I understand that at your age you may not fully appreciate the feelings that Houston sports fans of my generation have towards the Steelers; however, please know that to this day hearing the name of Mike Renfro makes me break into a sweat and start replaying whatever I happen to be watching on television at the time.

I am sure you would like it if I would encourage all the members of the Farmstros Village to follow you on Twitter @funky2414 so you can fill their minds with your #SteelerNation propaganda. However, as a Houston sports fan, I cannot in good conscience do that until you promise to put down the Terrible Towel.

Sincerely,

Mike Tauser
Farmstros Village Poet Laureate

Luhnow is Feeling Chatty

If you're hoping to chat with Astros' new General Manager Jeff Luhnow tonight, here is the necessary link. The chat is scheduled to start at 6 p.m.(Minute Maid Park time)

Lawless Won't be Managing the Hooks in 2012

The Astros have released the names of their minor league co-ordinators for the 2012 season. Most notably, Tom Lawless is listed as the Roving Infield Instructor. Lawless managed the Hooks in 2011 meaning Corpus Christi will apparently have a new manager in 2012.

One Houston Baseball Dinner Ticket, Please

You like me! You really like me!

Thanks to the Tri City Valley Cats who have offered to cover the final $15 of a Houston Baseball Dinner ticket for Farmstros. I will be there on February 10, and will do my best to share the event with the Village!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Help Support the Houston Food Bank, Like Farmstros on Facebook



You can support the Houston Food Bank by Liking Farmstros on Facebook between now and Christmas.

My family has supported the work of The Houston Food Bank since long before Farmstros was created. With the celebration of Christmas just one week away, here is an opportunity for fans of this blog to show support of this organization as well.

$1 will be donated on behalf of the Farmstros Village for every person who likes Farmstros on Facebook between now and December 25.

Merry Christmas from Farmstros.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Farmstros is Closer to the Houston Baseball Dinner

I now have a feeling what is it like for those PBS fundraiser hosts when a pledger calls in to support the programming of that network at an unusually high level. Earlier today I received word from Brandon that he is willing to donate $50 to help Farmstros go to the Houston Baseball Dinner in February. I am incredibly grateful for the show of support, which leaves the count only $15 short of the needed total to attend the dinner.

Thanks, Brandon.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Send Farmstros to the Houston Baseball Dinner- An Update

With the Houston Baseball Dinner eight weeks from tonight, I wanted to give you a quick update on the campaign to raise the money to go to the event.

Through today, one anonymous donor has added $10 to the cause. Adding this to the $25 from the Farmstros offices, $65 is still neeeded. Any amount is appreciated. Please email farmstros@yahoo.com if you are interested in contributing.

Follow the Wild of the Future with us Tonight

Thanks to the Houston Aeros and Twitter, I just won four tickets to tonight's game between the Aeros and the Texas Stars at Toyota Center. I am only one person, so I have three extra seats. The tickets are promoted as being on the glass. Anyone interested in a ticket or three tweet @farmstros. You can also email me at farmstros@yahoo.com. The game is scheduled for 7:35 p.m. tonight.

Luhnow Completes Week One

It was an eventful first week as General Manager of the Astros for Jeff Luhnow. Brian McTaggart wrapped up the highlights for his readers.

Ka-Boom and the JetHawks Caravan Pictures

As reported here a few days ago, KaBoom the Lancaster JetHawks mascot and representatives from the club toured Antelope Valley Thursday spreading some holiday cheer. KaBoom posted a gallery of pictures from the day.

Unlikely Realignment Winners- Houston's Canadian National Anthem Singers

The move of the Astros to the American League in 2013 has one group of artists in the Houston area cheering: Singers of the Canadian national anthem.

Between Aeros, Rockets, and Dynamo games, "O, Canada!" is only sung about 10 times a year in a Houston sports venue. The Montreal Expos moved south to Washington after the 2004 season, and the song of our northern neigbors is a distant memory to the confines of Minute Maid Park.

With the dearth of opportunities, my guess is that even the hard core Canadian singer in Houston is tempted to add "The Star Spangled Banner" to his or her resume. Fortunately, there will be at least three more gigs available for the Canadian specialist to sing of the "True North strong and free" in 2013. The Blue Jays haven't played in Minute Maid Park since 2005. However, with the Astros' move to the American League, a few more Candadian artists and transplanted Blue Jays' fans will once again be able to "Stand on guard for Thee."

Golfers Scheduled to Report February 27

The Astros haven't set an exact date for pitchers and catchers to report next spring. However, fans of the Astros who love reading are scheduled to report to Houston's Black Horse Golf Club on Monday, February 27. That is the date of The Reader Cup: Larry Dierker Celebrity Golf Tournament. Proceeds from the tournament, which is in its fifth year, will benefit Literacy Advance of Houston.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Towles Chances of Going to the Hall of Fame Increase

When J.R. Towles signed a minor league deal with Minnesota on Thursday, he increased his chances of going to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012. Towles received a non-roster invite to the Twins big league Spring Training; however, if he ends up in AAA for the Twins, he will be playing his home games in Rochester, New York. Rochester is approximately a three-hour drive from Cooperstown, New York, the home of Baseball's Hall of Fame. The Red Wings have a home off-day scheduled for April 23, 2012, which may make a road trip to Cooperstown a possibility.

Sayonara, Nick Stavinoha

Instead of Oklahoma City's RedHawks Field at Bricktown or Houston's Minute Maid Park, Nick Stavinoha will be patrolling the outfield of Hiroshima's Mazda Zum-Zum Stadium in 2012. Zachary Levine reported yesterday that Stavinoha, who went to Jersey Village High School in the Houston area, was released from his obligation to the Astros so he could sign with the Hiroshima Carp of Japanese Baseball's Central League. Stavinoha, who had spent his professional career to date in the St. Louis organization, was a non-roster invite to Houston's 2012 Spring Training.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Luhnow's First Trade Reportedly Nets a Shortstop

Ken Rosenthal is reporting on Twitter that Jeff Luhnow's first trade as Astros' GM will bring a new shortstop into the fold. According to Rosenthal, reliever Mark Melancon is being sent to Boston for infielder Jed Lowrie and starting pitcher Kyle Weiland.

Lowrie, 27, has been with the Red Sox since 2008. He has played about half of his games at shortstop, and he has played all four infield positions. Lowrie, who made $450,000 in 2011, is in his first year of arbitration eligibility.

Weiland, 25, was drafted in the third round of the 2008 draft by Boston. He made his MLB debut at Fenway Park on July 10, 2011. He made seven appearances for the Red Sox. He also made 24 starts with a 3.58 ERA at AAA Pawtucket last season. Here's what a Red Sox Prospect blog had to say about Weiland.

The Astros acquired Melancon in 2010 in the Lance Berkman trade. He led the club in saves in 2010 with 20.

Apparently, Jarred Cosart's Little Brother is Pretty Good, Too

This list of the 25 top-ranked high school seniors in the Houston area contains at least one name which should be familiar to fans of the Astros of the future. Jake COSART a senior RHP/OF from Clear Creek High School is the younger brother of Jarred Cosart. The Astros acquired the older Cosart in last summer's Hunter Pence trade. Here's a link to some scouting video of Jake, who has committed to Duke University.

The Clear Creek roster also includes Jansen Cosart, a junior IF/OF.

Also in the Farmstros Family News section, Chris Wallace's cousin is Pasadena Memorial infielder Kody Eaves.

For those of You in Need of a Statistics Fix

In case you are wondering how Brandon Barnes is performing in the Australian Winter Baseball League, here is a link for you. What the Heck, Bobby? has compiled stats. for every Astros-affiliated player who is playing in a winter league this off-season.

JetHawks Spreading Holiday Cheer in Antelope Valley Thursday

The JetHawks front office and mascot, Ka-Boom are hitting the road Thursday in the Antelope Valley. Representatives of the Astros' High A affiliate will be spreading holiday cheer at five locations throughout their community.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Possible Placeholders Until Jonathan Villar is Ready



Photo by George Tuley. Used with permission.

With baseball's deadline to tender contracts to arbitration eligible players passing last night, Zachary Levine takes a look at some of the newly available shortstops on the market. With shortstop prospect Jonathan Villar at least a year away from being big league-ready, the Astros are looking for the best option to fill Clint Barmes' spot for a season.

Monday, December 12, 2011

This Rescue Hero used to be a Farmstro

The Palm Beach Post has a post about Marlins catcher John Buck rescuing two elderly women from an over-turned car in South Florida Thursday.

Buck began his professional career in the Astros' organization when Houston drafted him in the 7th Round of the 1998 draft. He was a Farmstro until 2004 when he was traded to Kansas City as part of the Carlos Beltran deal. He played for the inaugural Lexington Legends in 2001 and the Round Rock Express in 2002.

The Marlins are the third stop in the major leagues for Buck. In addition to playing for Florida/Miami, he has been a Royal and a Blue Jay. He represented Toronto in the 2010 All-Star Game.

The Face of the Astros Continues Changing

Talk about needing a scorecard(or a media guide) to tell the players!

As of this morning, the Astros have 50 players(including non-roster invites) scheduled to go to Major League Spring Training in February 2012. 17 of these players have never attended big league camp in Kissimmee, Florida. Further evidence of how much the face of the Astros is changing: only 14 of these 50 players were in the Astros' big league camp in 2010.


NOTE: Since I posted this, the Astros added Jed Lowrie and Kyle Weiland from Boston. Brian Bixler was designated for assignment and his status as part of the organization is still to be determined.

SECOND NOTE: Brian Bixler has accepted his demotion and will be in Major League Camp as a non-roster invite.

The new guys for 2012:

Juan Abreu, RHP
Jose Altuve, IF
Brandon Barnes, OF
Brian Bixler, OF
Travis Buck, OF
Xavier Cedeno, LHP
Paul Clemens, RHP
Rhiner Cruz, RHP
Marwin Gonzalez, IF
Lucas Harrell, RHP
Diory Hernandez, IF
Scott Moore, IF
Jordan Schafer, OF
Henry Sosa, RHP
Brad Snyder, OF
Craig Tatum, C
Joe Thurston, IF

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Breakdown of Luhnow's Seven Years' of Drafting

In the seven years new Astros' GM Jeff Luhnow was responsible for the Cardinals' draft(2005-2011), St. Louis made a total of 152 picks in the first 20 rounds of the draft. Here's a breakdown on the makeup of those 152 picks:

Pitchers-67
4-year college or JUCO-54
High School- 13

Position Players-85
4-year college or JUCO- 59
High School-26

For comparison's sake, here's a breakdown of the 143 players the Astros selected in the first 20 rounds of the draft over the same time period:

Pitchers-67
4-year college or JUCO-47
High School-20

Position Players-76
4-year college or JUCO-53
High School-23

NOTE: This data was compiled using draft information found on THE BASEBALL CUBE.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Help Send Farmstros to the 2012 Houston Baseball Dinner

NOTE: The date of this event has been changed to February 10.

Dear Farmstros Village,

I would love to represent the Farmstros Village at the 2012 Houston Baseball Dinner on January 27, 2012. This event is a chance for Houston's baseball community to gather, wrap up the 2011 season, get ready for the 2012 season, and support the work of The Astros in Action Foundation.

I am confident that attending the event would give me an opportunity to bring the Farmstros Village some great coverage in the form of pictures and behind the scenes viewpoints. However, as a low budget blogger, I can't justify the $100 ticket cost for the dinner.

Therefore, I come to you my readers with my hat in my hand. I would appreciate it if you would consider helping to send Farmstros to this event. Farmstros IS able to spend $25 of its recent Google Ad Sense windfall. I will feel honored if you are willing to help me represent the fans of the Astros of the Future on January 27, 2012.

Please email me at farmstros@yahoo.com if you have any questions or are interested in supporting me.

Thanks,
Mike Tauser

How Did Luhnow and Friends put Together the St. Louis Farm System?

The Draft? The International market? How did the Cardinals (and Astros' new GM Jeff Luhnow) acquire their top prospects? Following is a breakdown of St. Louis' Top 30 prospects going into the 2011(according to Baseball America)

Drafted College Players- 17
Signed International Players- 6
Drafted High School Players-5
Drafted JUCO Players-2

Of special interest to Farmstros readers in Texas: at least five of these top 30 prospects have a Texas connection.
#1 Shelby Miller is from Brownwood, Texas.
#4 Tyrell Jenkins is from Henderson, Texas.
#11 Matt Carpenter attended TCU.
#28 Daryl Jones is from Spring, Texas.
#29 Steven Hill attended Stephen F. Austin University.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Ring in the Luhnow Era at Kroger, Get a Free Soda



In case you were unable to celebrate Rule 5 Eve with Farmstros at Kroger, here's another chance to support your local grocer.

Stop by Kroger Store 356 in Oak Forest(Houston) between 11:45 p.m. and tomorrow morning at 5:45 a.m. If you find me and tell me what you think about the team's new General Manager Jeff Luhnow, there is a free Big K Cola(25 cent value) in it for you.

Andy Van Hekken 3360 Days and Counting...on his way to South Korea



Picture from Oklahoma City RedHawks

Thanks to @AstrosCounty for finding this article and Tweeting it.

Apparently, Andy Van Hekken enjoyed his international experience this off-season.

The left-hander who anchored the Team USA starting rotation in the Baseball World Cup and the Pan AM Games in October has signed a contract to play with the Nexen Heroes of the Korean Baseball Organization. According to this article by Steve Vedder of the Grand Rapids Press, Van Hekken turned down offers from Houston and Oakland, opting for the guaranteed contract from the Korean club.

The Heroes play their home games in Seoul at Mokdong Baseball Park. The club begins play in the eight-team league in early April.

Viva El Luhnow!!

The Cardinals save leader in 2011 was a product of Jeff Luhnow's leadership in the area of international scouting. Luhnow added Fernando Salas to the St. Louis organization from Mexico in 2007. In 2011, Salas had 24 saves and 2.28 ERA as part of the World Champion Cardinals' bullpen.

The Astros new General Manager was responsible for the Cardinals' international player scouting from 2004-2011. His success in this area is not limited to Salas. According to Baseball America, three of the Cardinals' Top 10 prospects are the fruit of Luhnow's labors overseas.

#2 Carlos Martinez, 20, RHP. Signed from Dominican Republic in 2010. Martinez made 18 starts in 2011 between High A and Low A. He had 98 strikeouts in 84 2/3 IP.

#3 Oscar Taveras, 19, OF. Signed from Dominican Republic in 2008. Taveras spent 2011 in Low A. He batted .386 with eight home runs and 62 RBI in 78 games.

#8 Eduardo Sanchez, 22, RHP. Signed from Venezuela in 2005. Sanchez, who is still classified as a rookie spent a good part of 2011 with St. Louis. He had five saves and a 1.80 ERA in 30 Major League innings pitched.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Luhnow Drafted 29 Major Leaguers for the Cardinals

During the seven years Jeff Luhnow was reportedly responsible for the Cardinals' draft(2005-2011), St. Louis selected a total of 29 players who have made it to the major leagues. During that same time frame, the Astros drafted eight future big leaguers.

Here's a look at the highlights:

2005- Eight Major Leaguers including Colby Rasmus, Jaime Garcia and current Astros non-roster invitee Nick Stavinoha

2006- Nine including John Jay, Allen Craig, current Astro David Carpenter and Indians' closer Chris Perez

2007- Nine including Daniel Descalso

2008- Two including current Astro Brett Wallace

2009- One (Matt Carpenter). Nine have reached AA to date.

2010- Four have reached AA through the 2011 season

NOTE: In 2005, the Cardinals drafted Ryan Rohlinger and Daniel McCutchen. These two players did not sign; however, they were both drafted by other teams in 2006 and have advanced to the Major Leagues with other organizations.

18 Eligible for 2012 Rule 5 Draft

Shortly before being dismissed as the Astros' General Manager, Ed Wade made the comment that one result of building a good franchise is that a team will get to a point that losing a player of two in the Rule 5 Draft is a good possibility. Once again today, the Astros came through the Major League phase of this draft unscathed. For the past several years in fact, the Astros have had ample room to protect players on their 40-man roster, thus keeping them protected from the Rule 5. Indeed, the club hasn't lost a player in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft since 2004, when the Dodgers selected right-handed pitcher D.J. Houlton.(Thank you, Wikipedia.) A look at the Rule 5 status of Astros prospects gives hope that this trend could shift as soon as December 2012.

Below you will find the names of 18 players who will be vulnerable to the Rule 5 Draft for the first time next December. Please note that all of these players spent at least part of 2011 with Lancaster(High A) or higher. In addition, three of the prospects finished the season at AAA Oklahoma City. Looking at this list, it seems likely that Jeff Luhnow and his staff will be more nervous about losing a player in the Rule 5 Draft in 2012 than Ed Wade was at any time during his tenure.

Jay Austin, OF
Erik Castro, IF
Jose Cisnero, RHP
Kirk Clark, RHP
Luis Cruz, LHP
Robby Donovan, RHP
Rene Garcia, C
Jacob Goebbert, OF
Zachary Grimmett, RHP
Grant Hogue, OF
Dallas Keuchel, LHP
Wes Musick, LHP
Brett Oberholtzer, LHP
Hector Rodriguez, IF
Ross Seaton, RHP
Jason Stoffel, RHP
Jonathan Villar, SS
Josh Zeid, RHP

In addition to these 18, pitchers Brad Dydalewicz, Chia-jen Lo and Brandt Walker, who have had their development slowed by injury, are first-time eligible in 2012.

Watch Crane Introduce Luhnow

Jim Crane will be introducing his new General Manager Jeff Luhnow Thursday at 1 p.m. The press conference will be streamed live at the team's website.

Luhnow Gets two Welcoming Gifts from Gottfried, Heck

New Astros' General Manager Jeff Luhnow will have two new welcoming gifts waiting for him on the 40-man roster when Jim Crane introduces him at Minute Maid Park Thursday at 1 p.m.

Although Luhnow had been named the GM prior to Thursday morning's Rule 5 draft, David Gottfried and Bobby Heck represented the organization during the proceedings. They added Rhiner Cruz, RHP and Marwin Gonzalez, IF to the mix for 2012.

Cruz,25 was selected from the Mets with the first pick in the draft. He is a reliever who spent 2011 with High A St. Lucie and AA Binghamton.

Gonzalez, 22 was selected by Boston from the Cubs organization in the first round of the draft. The Astros acquired him by sending their minor league phase selection Marco Duarte, RHP(from Colorado) and cash to Boston. Gonzalez is a switch-hitting utility player who spent 2011 with Tennessee and Iowa.

Cruz and Gonzalez must spend the entire 2012 season on the Astros 25-man roster. If this does not happen, they must be offered back to the Mets and Red Sox respectively.

Read MLB.com's recap of the acquistions.

No Astros minor leaguers were lost in this year's Rule 5 Draft.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Mayo's 20 Rule 5 Possibles

Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com has posted an article that includes a rundown of 20 potential selections in tomorrow's Rule 5 draft. The Astros are slated to pick first in the draft and have space available on their 40-man roster to select a player in the second round as well.

What Does Farmstros' Rule 5 Eligibility Mean?


Since Reid Ryan asked me via Twitter how the Rangers can select Farmstros in tomorrow's Rule 5 draft, I decided to do a bit of research on the matter. I'll admit I was relying on my agent to take care of this, until I realized, I don't have an agent.

Surprisingly, there is not much information about bloggers being drafted in the Rule 5 draft. However, here is what I can tell the Rangers and any other team that might be interested in my "lottery pick"-type services for the 2012 season:

A team can select Farmstros by tweeting their intentions @farmstros before noon(Minute Maid Park time) Friday. If more than one team does this, I will honor the order of the Rule 5 draft.

For $49,999, the team that selects Farmstros will have my services to cover any aspect of their team for one calendar year. The team will also cover relocation costs if applicable. If the team decides to relingquish control of Farmstros before the end of a year, they will be reimbursed $24,999.50.

Farmstros is also eligible for the AAA phase of the Rule 5 Draft. The same qualifications as mentioned above apply to that phase as well.

For any organizations unfamiliar with Farmstros, please feel to read this rough draft of the Farmstros Fifth Anniversary Guide.

Reid, I hope this answers your question.

McTaggart is a Video Star!!

MLB.com has posted video of Brian McTaggart, the Astros.com beat reporter. In a little over a minute, McTaggart the Astros GM search and who the club is shopping out during the winter meetings.

Hooks are Connecting you with Bill Brown

The Corpus Christi Hooks are giving fans a chance to pick the brain of long-time Astros' announcer Bill Brown. Brown, who has called Astros' games for 25 seasons, will answer questions submitted to the Hooks' off-season inbox by Friday at 5 p.m.(Minute Maid Park time).

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Is This the Astros' Mascot of the Future??



A young artist in the Farmstros office recently asked me if Astros' new owner will give the team a new mascot. I told her that I wasn't sure, so she decided to create one just in case.

I am pleased to introduce you to BUZZ BUNNY. BUZZ BUNNY(pictured above) is an alien bunny captain. He is the nephew of ORBIT and the cousin of JUNCTION JACK. He is looking forward to visiting Minute Maid Park often if Jim Crane will let him.

Footer and Levine on What the Astros are Looking for in a GM

Alyson Footer and Zachary Levine chimed in from the winter meetings about what the Astros are looking for in a new General Manager. Footer's hashtags when she tweeted her link (#scouting; #playerdevelopment) sum up the job description quite well.

Monday, December 5, 2011

JetHawks Announcer Calling a Game in Texas Saturday

"My worlds are colliding! Heading to near Houston, but with Montana St. Maybe I'll meet some Astros minor league fans."

The above message was tweeted by Lancaster JetHawks' play-by-play announcerJeff Lasky Sunday morning

Lasky, who calls football and basketball games for Montana St. in addition to his JetHawks duties, will be traveling to Texas with the Bobcats for their NCAA Division I FCS Quarterfinal contest against Sam Houston State on Saturday morning. The game is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m.(Minute Maid Park time-SHSU's Bowers Stadium is about 70 miles from MMP.) Lasky's call will be accessible through the Montana St. athletics website.

Lasky and the Bobcats will arrive in College Station Thursday night. This is Lasky's first time to be in Texas since September 2007 when Montana St. took on Texas A&M at Kyle Field. Lasky's stay in Texas will be a short one as he will be back in Bozeman to call a basketball game Sunday afternoon.

Talk About the Rule 5 Draft, Get a Soda


I don't know about any of my readers, but I for one, will not be able to sleep the night before this Thursday morning's Rule 5 Draft. The thought of the Astros adding Ryan Flaherty or Jordan Danks to the 40-man roster is exciting. However, the real reason I won't be able to sleep is that I will be working the graveyard shift at Kroger Store Number 356.

If you are in the Houston area on Rule 5 Draft Eve, stop by Store 356 between midnight and 6 a.m. Thursday morning, and we can talk some Rule 5 Draft. Farmstros will buy a Big K brand soft drink for every one who shows up and mentions this post.

What the Heck, Bobby Interviews Kyle Hallock

Kudos to What the Heck, Bobby! who just posted an interview with LHP Kyle Hallock. The Astros drafted Hallock in 2011. He spent the summer in Tri-City.

Follow the Winter Meetings from Here

According to Brian McTaggart's latest headline the Astros are beginning a new era during baseball's winter meetings, which begin today in Dallas. The gathering wraps up Thursday morning with the Rule 5 Draft.

In case you can't make it to the Hilton Anatole in Dallas for the monumental proceedings, here are a few helpful links for your convenience this week:

Brian McTaggart's Twitter Feed

Alyson Footer's Twitter Feed

Zachary Levine of Chron.com's Twitter Feed

Baseball America's Twitter Feed

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Mayo's Rule 5 Preview

MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo has posted a preview of next Thursday's Rule 5 Draft. The Astros have the first pick in the proceedings which are scheduled to begin at 9 am(Minute Maid Park).

Friday, December 2, 2011

Hey, Astros How Long are you Going to be in that Hole?

Zachary Levine at Chron.com has posted an article about the club's need to focus on scouting as they implement their three to five year plan for regaining success. Reading Levine's post, I am forced to wonder if Bill Geivett and/or Andrew Friedman have kept their HOLE EXPERT license current.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Dierker Roasted, Literacy Advanced in Houston



Photo courtesy of Anna Megan Raley

Sports Radio 610 hosted a roast of Larry Dierker Tuesday night in Houston. Alyson Footer posted a wrap-up of the event which includes pictures and video footage.

Proceeds from the event will benefit Dierker's favorite charity, Literacy Advance Houston. This organization is "Transforming lives and communities through the doorway of literacy."

Is Happiness MOVEMBER in the rear-view Mirror?



James Van Ostrand tweeted the above picture of himself and his moustache last night. As we are now in December, I assume this was his final picture from MOVEMBER. Keep your eyes open for pictures of a clean shaven Van Ostrand.

Rule 5 Draft Preview with Baseball America's John Manuel



The Rule 5 Draft is scheduled to take place one week from today during baseball's winter meeetings. Baseball America's Editor-in-Chief John Manuel took some time to talk to the Farmstros Village about what the Astros might do in the draft.

Here are links to player pages for the four players he mentions as possible Astros' selections:

Jordan Danks, OF
Ryan Flaherty, OF
Diego Moreno, RHP
Ryan Searle, RHP

Additionally, Manuel indicated two of Houston's Rule 5 vulnerable players merit keeping an eye on during next week's draft:

Dayan Diaz
Sergio Perez