farmstros can be reached at farmstros@yahoo.com

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Pre-Season Player of the Year Voting Starts Wednesday

Double check your registration card. Voting for the Farsmtros Pre-Season Player of the Year commences Wednesday morning. Voting runs through Monday, February 6. Last season's Pre-Season Player of the Year was J.D. Martinez who ended the season as the Astros' starting left-fielder. Pre-Season Pitcher of the Year voting will begin Wednesday, February 8.

The Candidates:
Delino DeShields, Jr.
Kody Hinze
Telvin Nash
Domingo Santana
Jordan Scott(2011 Farmstros Player of the Year)
Jonathan Singleton
George Springer
Jonathan Villar
Chris Wallace
Austin Wates

Barnes is Back from Down Under

Outfielder Brandon Barnes spent part of the off-season playing in Australia. What the Heck, Bobby has posted an interview with Barnes about playing down under.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Astros Sign Brown, Release Six

According to the latest transaction update from Baseball America, the Astros signed another outfielder with big league experience. Jordan Brown has been in the major leagues with Cleveland. He spent 2011 with Nashville and Columbus.

The Astros have also released six players:
Travis Blankenship, LHP
Federico Hernandez, C
Kellen Kiilsgaard, OF
Colton Pitkin, LHP
Hector Rodriguez, IF
Shane Wolf, LHP

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Cosart, According to David Dalati

David Dalati posted an article after interviewing Jarred Cosart. You can read that story here.

Thanks to the Village

The Baseball America 2012 Prospect Handbook arrived in the Farmstros mailbox Friday. The funds for the purchase of the book came directly from Google AdSense, so I thank my readers for making the purchase possible. I am confident that this resource will allow me to provide better information for you as you Follow the Astros of the Future.
Thanks.

Speaking of Baseball America, with the start of college and high school baseball upon us, I am scheduled to interview Jim Callis, who is an editor with that publication Wednesday morning. We will be focusing on a few #1 draft picks to keep an eye on this season.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Looking to the Past, to Look to the Future

I just made a post at Chron.com "Sometimes Listening to your fans is Overrated."

This is the first of what I intend to be numerous posts that draw on my past experiences as a sports fan, mostly in Houston, and relate them to the future of the Astros. Please join me at Chron.com while I look to the Past, to Look to the Future.

Shuck is On His Way to Texas



Astros' outfielder J.B. Shuck took some time while traveling from Ohio to Texas to talk to the Farmstros Village(listen above). Shuck is on his way to Houston, from where he will take part in next month's Astros CAREavan. Among other stops on his trip, Shuck is scheduled to be at the Astros CAREavan Luncheon on February 3 in Corpus Christi. Shuck will be joined at the luncheon by Astros' new owner Jim Crane.

Shuck talked to the Farmstros Village on the ALUMINUM CAN MUSIC MAN hotline.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Pitchers/Catchers-3/3; Position Players-3/7

Word on the street is that minor league pitchers and catchers will report on March 3 this season. Position players are scheduled to arrive in Floriday on March 7. Some players will reportedly be arriving February 24 for a minor league mini-camp.

Astros sign Jordan Kreke

Astros County has the scoop on the Astros signing Jordan Kreke an infielder who was most recently in the Atlanta system.

Three Astros Prospects on Baseball America's 32nd Team

Two Astros prospects are definitley not in the Baseball America Prospect Handbook, which should be arriving in mailboxes this week. Jacob Goebbert, OF, and David Martinez, RHP, are included in the publications 32nd team. The 32nd team highlights a handful of players(this year 15) who just missed the cut for the handbook. The Prospect Handbook(along with its supplement) highlights the top 31 prospects in each organization.

Goebbert started 2011 with Lancaster, but had advanced to Oklahoma City by Labor Day. Martinez pitched for Lexington last season.

NOTE: WHOOPS! Thanks to the reader who pointed out that RHP Josh Zeid is also on the 32nd team.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Astros have three Prospects in the top 100



Picture of Jarred Cosart from Corpus Christi Hooks. Used with permission.

Three Astros prospects are listed in Jonathan Mayo's Top 100 list, which was released on MLB.com tonight.

#44 Jonathan Singleton
#61 Jarred Cosart
#84 George Springer
Also, according to Adrian Houser's Twitter Feed, Minor League Pitchers and Catcher will be reporting to Florida on March 3(in 38 days)

Top 100 Prospects to be Unveiled Tonight

MLB.com will be revealing their list of the top 100 prospects tonight at 9 p.m.(Minute Maid Park time). Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com has already ranked Jonathan Singleton as the #3 1B and Delino DeShields, Jr. as the #6 2B. Where will those two and other future Astros fit in the top 100?

Coming Soon to Minute Maid Park!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What the Heck, Bobby Interviews Houser

What the Heck, Bobby officially has a pipeline to the Astros' prospects. Today? An interview with Adrian Houser. The Astros drafted Houser last summer out of high school in Oklahoma.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Long Before there was Farmstros, there were the Ex-Stros

I'm usually not one to give in to peer pressure, but seeing that all the cool bloggers and tweeters and Houston media people in general are fishing for clicks and listeners with a take on the possible Astros' name change, I figured I'd get in on the feeding frenzy.

I have always been a fan of words and more specifically the sound of words. My auditory leanings have been a large part of my baseball experience. There's no better way to "watch" a game than on the radio. With all due respect to Milo Hamilton, Dave Raymond and Bret Dolan, I still miss Gene Elston, who will always be the voice of the Astros in my ears.

I have no doubt that this love of sounds has led me to form an emotional bond with the name Astros. Why else would I affectionatley call them the 'strosies? Why else would I name this blog Farmstros? Why else did I play imaginary games in my backyard as a boy between the Astros and the Ex-Stros?

Yes, you read right, the Ex-stros. Many a summer day was passed in my backyard pretending to be Jose Cruz or Joe Niekro- I still have a pretty sweet knuckleball. Yet, as the Houston heat increased, in the summer of 1978, I started to vary my games to keep myself interested.

Underneath the chinaberry tree that stood right next to the pitcher's mound, Joe Niekro and Joe Sambito stared down Milt May (Tigers) and Joe Morgan(Reds). Prince my pet dog was amazed to watch Jose Cruz and Art Howe take their hacks against Tom Griffin(Angels) and Dave Roberts(Cubs). In my mind, Gene Elston made the call and the Ex-stros played in Houston again.

As Houston's Major League baseball team moves forward into a hopefully improving era, calling that team anything but the "Astros" just won't sound right to me.

These Three Skeeters used to be Farmstros

Three of the seven players the Sugarland Skeeters acquired in today's Atlantic League expansion draft have experience in the Astros organization.

Houston liked Ryan McKeller so much that they drafted him twice in 2001 and 2002. The right-handed pitcher started his professional career in Martinsville in 2003. McKeller, now 28, peaked in the Astros' organization in 2009, which he spent at AAA Round Rock. He was on the staff of the Camden Riversharks in the Atlantic League in 2010 and 2011.

Josh Banks spent all of 2010 in the Round Rock rotation. The 29-year old right-hander made one start with the Astros that season filling in for an injured Bud Norris in Arlington. Express fans may remember Banks taking a line drive off of his face at Dell Diamond on the night of July 24, 2010. He split 2011 between Fresno and the Atlantic League's Long Island Ducks.

Ryan Houston, 32, spent 2008 in the Round Rock bullpen. He was with the Somerset Patriots of the Atlantic League for all of 2011 and part of 2010.

Great Scott! What a Finish



Alyson Footer has a nice write up(with numerous pictures) of the 1986 Astros reunion held over the weekend.

Seeing pictures of Terry Puhl, Alan Ashby, Jose Cruz, and the rest sent me digging in the closet for the above poster. I was a senior in high school in the fall of 1986. Attending the Scott no-hitter is my #1 Astrodome sports memory.

February and Farmstros voting are Around the Corner

February is less than 10 days away, which means that it is almost time for the Farsmtros Village to vote for the Pre-Season Player and Pitcher of the Year.

The schedule:

February 1-6: Pre-Season Player of the Year Voting
February 6- Player of the Year announced
February 8-13: Pre-Season Pitcher of the Year Voting
February 13- Pitcher of the Year announced

I will make every effort to interview the two winners before the end of the month

No Dinner for Farmstros

NOTE: Shortly, after posting this, I received a comment from Brandon that changed my day. Please read it. My heart goes out to Brandon.

Back in early December, I put out a request for support to send Farmstros to the Houston Baseball Dinner. I was very excited when the $100 was pledged(this included $25 from the Farmstros coffers) and I started the process of purchasing a ticket to the event.

However, the biggest pledger, Brandon in New Braunfels, has disappeared and his money has never materialized. I appreciate the support of the Tri-City Valley Cats and one other anonymous donor who came through with their committment. However, Brandon's disappearance and to smaller extent a less than customer-friendly experience with the dinner's Ticket Chairman have convinced me to abandon my attempt to attend the event.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

DeShields is #6

According to MLB.com Delino DeShields, Jr. is the #6 rated 2B prospect in baseball. The Astros drafted DeShields in the first round of the 2010 draft. He spent 2011 with Lexington.

New RedHawk Coach is a Birthday Boy

Thanks to What the Heck, Bobby , we know that the new Oklahoma City hitting coach, Leon Roberts is turning 61 today. Roberts played for the Astros in 1976-77. He was traded to Seattle for Jimmy Sexton after the 1977 season. He has been coaching since his playing career ended in the mid 1980s.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Singleton is #3

According to MLB.com, Jonathon Singleton is the #3 1B prospect in baseball at the moment. The Astros acquired Singleton from the Phillies in the Hunter Pence trade.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Whitaker Bank Ballpark Sports some new Artwork

Fans in Lexington going to see the Legends play at Whitaker Bank Ballpark will see some new artwork this season. The painting you see at the previous link is part of the Lexington Mural Project

Are Quintero and Corporan Going to Catch Everyone?

Okay, I'll admit it: I didn't have any idea that Craig Tatum would be designated for assignment to make room for Jack Cust. That transaction leaves the Astros with only three catchers headed for Spring Training at the moment. One of those three is Jason Castro, who is still recovering from his injuries. Needless to say, a few more catchers(or some sturdy pitchbacks?) will be need to added to the Astros lineup before the pitchers start building arm strength in Florida.

NOTE: Since I posted this, Chris Snyder was added to the roster. Also, Craig Tatum was claimed off of waivers by Arizona.

Assuming Craig Tatum stays around and receives a non-roster invite to camp and a veteran free agent catcher may be added, here is a list of five other possibles to catch a lot of pitches in February.

Emerson Frostad(He can impress everyone with his Pan Am Games Gold Medal)
Rene Garcia(He was in big league camp last year)
Ben Heath(Spent most of 2011 in Lancaster)
Federico Hernandez(Topped out a Corpus in 2011)-Hernandez released from organization 1/2012
Chris Wallace(University of Houston product)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Interview with Larry Dierker



I had the opportunity to talk some baseball with Larry Dierker today, so I figured I'd let the Farmstros Village listen to the conversation above.

Among other things, we discussed the future of the Astros, scouting, Greg Maddux and Larry's favorite charity, Literacy Advance of Houston. My favorite comment from the conversation came when I asked about the new focus on sabremetrics in the Astros' front office. Larry told me, "I was into that part of the game while he(Luhnow) was just a little boy."

You can access more information about the Larry Dierker Celebrity Golf Tournament at this link.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Cust in, Leon Gone?

The Astros have reportedly reached an agreement with outfielder Jack Cust. Unless a trade is made between now and when the Cust signing is announced, room will need to be made on the 40-man roster for Cust. I'm guessing Arecenio Leon is next in line to be designated for assignment. Leon, 25, pitched in 47 games for the Hooks in 2011, posting a 4.59 ERA in 64 2/3 IP.

...And a Video Interview with Paul Clemens

Here's a link to MLB.com's video interview with Paul Clemens.

An Interview with Jarred Cosart



Picture from the Corpus Christi Hooks. Used with permission.

Here's a link to a Q&A with Jarred Cosart, one of the top pitchers in the Astros system. What the Heck, Bobby asked Cosart about moving to a new organization and his injuries among other topics.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

What Do I Need? Just a bottle of Water, please



Since this sign in a window of this building near the Old North Church in Boston asked, the least I can do is give an answer.

All I need to enjoy a ballgame is a bottle of water. Fortunately, according to What the Heck, Bobby's recent posting about a special meet and greet with the Astros brass, this may now be a possibility. There is mention in the post that the "no food, no drink" policy at Minute Maid Park may be loosened.

I don't go to many Astros games in person; however, my experience would be improved if I could bring in a bottle of water and avoid having to pay $3 or $4 for the water that Aramark sells.

Clemens on the Brink of Minute Maid




Picture from the Corpus Christi Hooks. Used with permission.

Paul Clemens could find himself pitching for the Astros as early as this season. This article from MiLB.com profiles one of the pitchers the Astros acquired from the Braves in the Michael Bourn trade.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Bogusevic is #8 Breakout Prospect


According to MLB.com, Brian Bogusevic is the #8 rated breakout prospect for the 2012 season.

Houston Food Bank to Benefit from Souper Bowl of Caring



The Souper Bowl of caring is accepting food donations in the Houston area through Super Bowl Sunday. If you are in Houston, you can contribute at Randall's, HEB, and Kroger stores. My understanding is that donations in the Houston area will benefit numerous charities through The Houston Food Bank.

This is a nationwide project. For more information, please click here.

A Journey With Jordan

Jordan Comadena is planning to chronicle his 2012 season on the internet. You will be able to find links to all his posts here:

February 1, 2012

January 12, 2012

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Astros keep adding the ZZZZ for 2012

The Astros have reportedly claimed outfielder Fernando Martinez from the Mets after he was placed on waivers. Martinez, 23, has spent parts of the past three seasons with Mets playing 47 games and batting .183. Room will need to be made on the 40-man roster for Martinez.

Not to say anyone should be feeling sleepy about the 2012 Astros, but the 40-man roster certainly has a ZZZZZZZZ feel to it:

Rhiner CruZ
Marwin GonzaleZ
Wilton LopeZ
Fernando MartineZ
J.D. MartineZ
Aneury RodrigueZ
Fernando RodrigueZ
Wandy RodrigueZ
Angel SancheZ

Three From Dominican Join the Astros Organization(or will Soon)

Brian McTaggart reported that three players, Carlos Vasquez, RHP; Edward Santana, OF; and Tomas Lopez, RHP have joined the Astros organization. The addition of these three Dominican players brings the number of international players Houston has signed since July 2 to eight.

For clarification, Lopez has not officially signed, but he and the Astros have reached an agreement.

Monday, January 9, 2012

#5 and #7

Number 5 and number 7, they’ve been here through thick and thin
Many wins and many losses and a brand new stadium

In ’88 and ’91, the two of them began
And looking back the Astros then, were surely in good hands

The ‘90s rolled along, the rainbow jerseys put away
Number 5 and number 7 led the charge out every day

The Astrodome still rings with echoes of the many cheers
A championship had come again after eleven years

Of course, that was the start of quite a run for all to see
That ended in St. Louis in ’05- THE VICTORY

Now, Number 5 is done and 7 has not much to do
Before to long the numbers on the field will all be new

Yet years from now when adding up the Houston baseball heart
The numbers 5 and 7 will be right there at the start.


I wrote this poem shortly after Craig Biggio announced that he was retiring at the end of the 2007 season.

Funky on Football-The Aftermath

Last week Jordan Comadena talked to the Farmstros Village about the NFL Play-offs, and more specifically, the Pittsburgh Steelers, his favorite team.

As his Twitter stream (@Funky2414) attests, Comadena was right there to the bitter end and beyond with Big Ben, Troy Polamalu, et. al.

A few highlights:

"I've got nothing...I'm in shock. Tebow actually impressed me a little today. Made nice throws. Steelers played poorly."

"I'm in shock."

About 8:30 pm: "Well, it's officially baseball season for me. very disappointing end to this season. Steelers need to get healthy and get ready for nxt. yr."

About 9:30 pm: "No doubt, a very disappointing end to this Steelers season, but life goest on, the sun will come up tomorrow. I'm a proud Steelers fan."

About 8:30 am today: "Up and at it! Little breakfast then off to the gym. Gonna be a very productive day. Sun is shining bright. #fullsteamahead"

Saturday, January 7, 2012

This potential Hall of Famer used to be a Farmstro

Jeff Bagwell will find out on Monday afternoon at 1 p.m.(Minute Maid Park time) if his second trip through the Hall of Fame election process will end with a July trip to Cooperstown. If I had vote, Bagwell would have been on my ballot.

While I have heard the sentiment voiced that it would great if Bagwell and Biggio could each have their own time at Cooperstown, I'd like to see them go in together. Either way, having two full-fledged Astros in the Hall would be special.

One added bonus trivia question to add to Jeff Bagwell's HOF resume: Who is the only player Jeff Bagwell drove in as a Farmstro? In 2005, during a three-game rehab stint with Corpus Christi, Bagwell had one RBI. The player he plated was Jason Clements.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Football with Funky(Jordan Comadena)



If you ask Jordan Comadena what he does in the off-season, while he is waiting for baseball season to return, watching the Pittsburgh Steelers try to get to the Super Bowl would be near the top of his list. Comadena took some time Wednesday to talk to the Farmstros Village about the Steelers' upcoming play-off game at Denver and his preparation for the 2012 baseball season.

You can listen to "Football With Funky" above. You can read Jordan's reactions to the Steelers' performance Sunday via his Twitter stream(@Funky2414).

Comadena's appearance was made possible by the ALUMINUM CAN MUSIC MAN hotline.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Luhnow Appears at Buffalo Wild Wings



Jeff Luhnow was at Buffalo Wild Wings Wednesday night for his first public appearance since being named the Astros' General Manager. However, it was quite difficult to hear what he was saying when he responded to questions from Milo Hamilton.

Following the event, Luhnow's brain appeared adequately probed by Milo and those fans who were able to ask him questions.



New Decision Sciences Director Sig Mejdal was in the audience at the event as well.

McTaggart: Youngsters to Contribute in 2012

Brian McTaggart posted this video about some of the youngsters who could take the field at Minute Maid Park in 2012.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Four out of Five Decision Scientists Recommend Mejdal

To whatever extent a Decision Scientist can be a celebrity, it appears Jeff Luhnow hired one Tuesday. A quick scan of the internet reveals that Sig Mejdal is well-known in the field of decision science.

He was a guest speaker at a conference of the Symposium on Statistics and Operations Research in Baseball in 2007.

He was a speaker at JMP software's Discovery Innovators' Summit in 2009.

He was featured as a St. Louis personality in the online magazine ALIVE in 2011.

Finally, here's a link to "Human Factors Design Guidelines for Multi-function Displays", a paper Mejdal and his colleagues produced in 2001.

Cesar Cedeno will be Greeneville's Hitting Coach

The Astros are bringing Cesar Cedeno back into the organization in 2012. Cedeno will be the hitting coach for the Greeneville Astros in the Appalachian League. Cedeno was a Gold Glove outfielder for the Astros. He wore a star from 1970-81. He also has 10 seasons as a coach in the organization, most recently in 2001.

Oklahoma City's new hitting coach, Leon Roberts played in the Astros' outfield as well. Leon Roberts played in the Astrodome in 1976 and 1977. He was traded to Seattle after the 1977 season for infielder Jimmy Sexton.

The Astros announced their entire minor league staff today via a press release. New managers will be found on the bench for three of the Astros' eight affiliates in 2012:

Corpus Christi- Keith Bodie replaces Tom Lawless(Now a roving infield instructor)
Lancaster- Rodney Linares moves up from Lexington.
Lexington- Ivan DeJesus- The former Cubs coach and shortstop joins the Houston organization.

Lexington Counting Down to Opening Day

The Lexington Legends are counting down the 100 days until their home opener on their Facebook Page and via their Twitter stream. The club is planning to share 100 reasons to LOVE THE LEGENDS from now until April 12, when the Legends host Kannapolis at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.

Public Access to Jeff Luhnow's Cranium Wednesday

If you want to pick Jeff Luhnow's brain with Farmstros, the MidTown location of Buffalo Wild Wings is the place to be Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Follow the Texans' Opponents of the Future(2012) with Us

As New Years' Day comes to a close, the Texans know they are playing Cincinnati in the first round of the play-offs Saturday afternoon at Reliant Stadium. Before I take off my football helmet and steer this blog back to the ballparks where it belongs, here is a quick look at who the Texans will be playing in the Fall when the Astros are wrapping up their final season in the National League and preparing for 2013, their first season in the National League.

Texans' 2012 Home Opponents:
Indianapolis Colts
Jacksonville Jaguars
Tennessee Titans
Buffalo Bills
Miami Dolphins
Baltimore Ravens
Green Bay Packers
Minnesota Vikings

Texans' 2012 Road Opponents:
Indianapolis Colts
Jacksonsville Jaguars
Tennessee Titans
New England Patriots
New York Jets
Denver Broncos
Chicago Bears
Detroit Lions

In 2012, the Texans are scheduled to play five games against 2011 play-off teams: Green Bay, Detroit, New England, Baltimore and Denver. Their 2012 opponents had a cumulative record of two games over .500. This is partly due to the fact that they play the 2 and 14 Colts and the 5 and 11 Jaguars twice each. They will also face the 3 and 13 Vikings in 2012. Their other 11 opponents(including the 15 and 1 Packers) were a combined 30 games over .500.

A Thanksgiving Day Game for the Texans? The Lions and Cowboys play against an AFC opponent on Thanksgiving in alternating years. 2012 is the Lions' year to host the AFC on Turkey Day(November 22). The Lions are scheduled to host the Texans and the Colts from the AFC South in 2012.

Follow the Texans Play-off Opponent of the Future- It's Cincinnati or Tennessee

Now, that today's two relevant noon games are complete, the identity of the Texans' first play-off opponent has become a bit clearer. However, three AFC games still stand between Reliant Stadium and the determination of its first post-season visitor.

Remaining games:
Baltimore at Cincinnati
San Diego at Oakland
Kansas City at Denver

Who could be facing the Texans on January 7 or 8?

Cincinnati- The Bengals are in control of their own destiny. If they beat Baltimore, they are the wild-card and will be traveling to Houston next weekend. If Cincinnati loses, they will make the play-offs if Denver and/or Oakland loses.

Tennessee- The Titans stayed alive by knocking the Texans off today. They return to Reliant Stadium next weekend only if Oakland AND Denver win. This would put Oakland, Cincinnati and Tennessee in a three-way tie for the wild card, which Tennessee would win.

Oakland- The Raiders can still win the AFC West title, but they cannot be the wild-card, so they will not be in Houston next weekend.

Follow the Texans' Play-off Opponent of the Future-And then there were Three

With their loss to Miami, the Jets are eliminated from play-off contention. This means that only three teams remain as possible opponents for the Texans in their first post-season game next weekend: Cincinnati, Tennessee and Oakland.