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Saturday, June 30, 2012

2012 Draft Class

1st Round- Carlos Correa, SS, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, Signed, Greeneville
1st Round(Supplemental)- Lance McCullers, Jr., RHP, HS(FL), Signed, Greeneville
2nd Round- Nolan Fontana, SS, Florida, Signed, Lexington
3rd Round- Brady Rodgers, RHP, Arizona St., Signed, Tri-City
4th Round- Rio Ruiz, 3B, HS(CA), Signed, Greeneville
5th Round- Andrew Aplin, CF, Arizona St., Signed, Lancaster
6th Round- Brett Phillips, CF, HS(FL), Signed, GCL Astros
7th Round- Preston Tucker, OF, Florida, Signed, Tri-City
8th Round- Tyler Heineman, C, UCLA, Signed, Tri-City
9th Round- Daniel Minor, RHP, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Signed, Greeneville
10th Round- Joe Bircher, LHP, Bradley, Signed, Tri-City
11th Round- Hunter Virant, LHP, HS(CA)
12th Round- Terrell Joyce, LF, Florida State College, Signed, Greeneville
13th Round- Brian Holmes, LHP, Wake Forest, Signed, Tri-City
14th Round- Joe Sclafani, SS, Dartmouth, Signed, Tri-City
15th Round- Erick Gonzalez, RHP, Gateway CC, Signed, GCL Astros
16th Round- Dan Gulbransen, OF, Jacksonville, Signed, Tri-City
17th Round- Aaron West, RHP, Washington, Signed, Tri-City
18th Round- Richard Gingrass, C, Palm Desert, Signed, Greeneville
19th Round- Austin Elkins, 2B, Dallas Baptist, Signed, Tri-City
20th Round- Michael Clark, LHP, Kent St.
21st Round- Marc Wik, OF, Chabot JUCO(CA), Signed, Greeneville
22nd Round- Kenny Long, LHP, Illinois St., Signed, Lancaster
23rd Round- Travis Ballew, RHP, Texas St., Signed, Tri-City
24th Round- Patrick Blair, SS, Wake Forest
25th Round- Ryan Dineen, SS, Eastern Illinois, Signed, Tri-City
26th Round- C.J. Hinojosa, SS, HS(TX)
27th Round- Tanner Mathis, OF, Mississippi
28th Round- Angel Ibanez, 3B, Texas-Pan American, Signed, Greeneville
29th Round- Christian Garcia, RHP, Florence-Darlington Tech JUCO(SC), Signed, Greeneville
30th Round- John Neely, RHP, Texas Tech, Signed, Tri-City
31st Round- M.P. Cokinos, C, St. Mary's(TX), Signed, Tri-City
32nd Round- Tyler Manez, LHP, HS(NY)
33rd Round- Mike Hauschild, RHP, Dayton, Signed, Greeneville
34th Round- Jordan Jankowski, RHP, Catawba(NC), Signed, Greeneville
35th Round- James Sinatro, C, HS(WA)
36th Round- Mike Martinez, 3B, Florida International, Signed, Greeneville
37th Round- Michael Dimock, RHP, Wake Forest, Signed, Greeneville
38th Round- Zachary Remillard, 3B, LaSalle Institute(NY)
39th Round- Mitchell Traver, RHP, HS(TX)
40th Round- Joseph Shaw, RHP, HS(TX)

Singleton Struggled in June

One of the more interesting numbers I came across while deciding on the candidates for June Player of the Month were the struggles of Corpus Christi first baseman Jon Singleton. Singleton, who is slated to participate in the MLB Futures' Game next Sunday, had a June to forget for the Hooks.

The Astros' first baseman of the future according to most prognosticators, Singleton was 12 for 81 in June.  He struck out 28 times and had only one home run and six RBI.  He walked 20 times and scored 14 runs to go with a .235 slugging percentage for the month.

The Hooks' Bullpen is Looking Like the Texas League Version of The Regulators

With one game left in June, Corpus Christi's record in the month is an impressive 17 and 8. The team's bullpen has been a big part of that success during the month. Erick Abreu, Kevin Chapman, Arcenio Leon, Alex Sogard, Jason Stoffel, Henry Villar and Josh Zeid have combined to post a 3.20 ERA over 76 innings of work this month. As a unit, the bullpen has won six games, saved eight struck out 76 and allowed only 63 hits. Their combined WHIP for June is 1.20. An individual breakdown: Abreu- 6 games, 8 IP, 3 wins, 9 strikeouts Chapman- 9 strikeouts and one win in 8 1/3 IP Leon- 2.70 ERA with 10 strikeouts in 10 IP Sogard- 2.45 ERA in 11 IP. Stoffel- 6 saves and a 2.00 ERA in 10 apperances Villar- 16 strikeouts and one save in 16 2/3 IP Zeid- 15 strikeouts and one save in 11 appearances

2012 Trade Deadline Deals

7/29-2012- Acquired Bobby Borchering, OF/1B/3B and Marc Krauss, OF from Arizona for Chris Johnson, 3B.

7/24/2012- Acquired Rudy Owens, LHP, Colton Cain, LHP, and Robbie Grossman, OF from Pittsburgh for Wandy Rodriguez, LHP.

7/21/2012- Acquired Blair Walters, LHP, Matt Heidenreich, RHP, and (PTBNL) Chris Devenksi, RHP from Chicago White Sox for Brett Myers, RHP.

7/20/2012- Acquired Francisco Cordero, RHP, Ben Francisco, OF, Joe Musgrove, RHP, Asher Wojciechowski, RHP, David Rollins, LHP, Carlos Perez, C, and (PTBNL) Kevin Comer, RHP from Toronto for J.A. Happ, LHP, Brandon Lyon, RHP, and David Carpenter, RHP.

7/4/2012- Acquired Matt Dominguez, 3B and Rob Rasmussen, LHP from Miami for Carlos Lee, 1B.  It is not yet reported how much of Lee's remaining 2012 salary the Astros will pay.

2012 International Signings

Dariel Aquino, 17, SS
Jesus Bermejo, 19, C
Jesus Castillo, 20, RHP, Dominican Republic
Robert Corniel, RHP
Jean Estrella, SS, ($115,000)
Junior Garcia, LHP, 17, Dominican Republic($200,000)
Gerardo Juarez, 20, RHP
Connor MacDonald, 16, 1B, Australia
Alexander Melendez, 18, OF, Puerto Rico#
Luis Payano, 16, OF, Dominican Republic($500,000)
Erasmo Pinales, 18, RHP
Joselo Pinales, RHP, Dominican Republic($70,000)
Marino Polanco, 18, RHP
Hector Roa, 17, OF, Dominican Rebuplic($110,000)
Chris Santamaria
Victor Tavarez, 17, C, Dominican Republic
Oliver Toribio, C, Dominican Republic($33,000)
Kristian Trompiz, 16, SS, Venezuela ($320,000)

#Melendez was signed out of Puerto Rico.  I'm not sure if this signing counts towards their international spending or their domestic spending.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Will the American League be the Only New League for Houston in 2013?

Who's up for Renewal?

California League

Inland Empire- Angels since 2011- Operated by Inland Empire 66ers Baseball Club

Lancaster- Houston since 2009- Operated by Hawks nest LLC 

Carolina League
Houston's last affiliate in the Carolina League was Salem(2003-2008).

All affiliates are in agreements with major league teams.

Florida State League
Houston's last affiliate in the Florida State League was Kissimmee(1995-2000).

Fort Myers- Minnesota since 1993- Operated by Greater Miami Baseball Club LP

Tropeano Heading to Lancaster

Trope... Papa Trop... Nitro... Nick Tropeano has a new nickname to add to his dossier:: Nick Tropeano, Lancaster JetHawk.  Tropeano has been promoted from Lexington to Lancaster to replace starter, R.J. Alaniz, who is currently on the JetHawks' disabled list. 

Tropeano, drafted out of Stony Brook in 2011, has pitched a total of 87 1/3 innings for the Legends this season in 15 games(14 starts).  He has posted a 2.78 ERA with 77 hits allowed and 97 strikeouts.  In five June starts, the right-hander has pitched 28 1/3 innings and compiled a 2.22 ERA.  His most recent start for the Legends came on June 24.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Farmstros Five- Week 13 will be a Mike Hessman Edition

In light of today's announcement that Mike Hessman, 34, will be starting in next month's AAA All-Star Game, this week's Farmstros Five will be a special edition.  The Farmstros Five- Week 13, to be unveiled on July 5, will focus on those players in the Astros system who bring the wisdom of age along with their physical skill to the field everyday. 

Only players born before October 4, 1987 will be eligible for this Mike Hessman Edition of the Farmstros Five.  Week 13 will cover all games between June 28 and July 4, 2012.  Following is a list of the 39 eligible players who will be 25 or older at the end of the 2012 Major League regular season.

Erick Abreu, P
Juan Abreu, P
Hector Ambriz, P
Jonnathan Aristil, P
Brandon Barnes, OF
Brian Bass, P
Travis Buck, OF
Xavier Cedeno, P
Carlos Corporan, C
Jorge DeLeon, P
Enerio Del Rosario, P
Jair Fernandez, C
Adalberto Flores, P
Armando Galarraga, P
Jacob Goebbert, OF
Mike Hessman, 1B
Kody Hinze, DH
Grant Hogue, OF
Jordan Kreke, IF
Arcenio Leon, P
Chia-jen Lo, P
Drew Locke, OF
David Martinez, P
Jose Martinez, 2B
Wes Musick, P
Ben Orloff, IF
Sergio Perez, P
Landon Powell, C
Angel Sanchez, SS
J.B. Shuck, OF
Andy Simunic, IF
Brad Snyder, OF
Alex Sogard, P
Mickey Storey, P
Jose Trinidad, P
Jose Valdez, P
Henry Villar, P
Brett Wallace, IF
Josh Zeid, P

Hessman to Start in AAA All-Star Game

Oklahoma City First Baseman Mike Hessman, who leads the Pacific Coast League with 23 home runs has been voted the league's starter in next month's AAA All-Star Game. The game will be held Wednesday, July 11 in Buffalo. Hessman wil be joined at the game by RedHawks' teammates, catcher Landon Powell and second baseman Jimmy Paredes, who have been named as reserves. The PCL stars will play against representatives of the International League. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the AAA All-Star Game.

2012 Farmstros Five- Week 12

According to the Farmstros' Database, there are currently 90 players in the Astros' organization who joined the system as an international signing.  Three of these players are on the big league roster at this time:  Wandy Rodriugez(signed in 1999, DR), Fernando Abad(2002, DR), Jose Altuve(2006, Venezuela). 

Since this year's period for signing international players begins on Monday, July 2, this week's Farmstros Five is focused on those 87 minor leaguers who joined the Astros' system in this manner.  Following is the Farmstros Five for the week of June 21-27, 2012(The international signing edition).

Jean Batista, 20, SS, Greeneville(signed in 2010 out of the Dominican Republic).  Batista was 14 for 33 on the week.  He had five doubles, one triple and six RBI.

Samil De Los Santos, 18, RHP, DSL Astros(2011, Dominican Republic).  De Los Santos pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing three hits and striking out five.

David Martinez, 24, RHP, Lancaster(2005, Venezuela).  Martinez allowed just five hits and one run, striking out seven in seven innings.  Of players currently in the organization, only Wandy Rodriguez and Abad have a longer tenure with the Astros than Martinez.  He was signed in March of 2005, a few months before Brian Bogusevic and Brandon Barnes were drafted.

Ariel Ovando, 18, OF, Greeneville(2010, Dominican Republic). Ovando was 9 for 23 on the week, with four doubles, one triple and six RBI.

Juri Perez, 21, RHP, Tri-City(2007, Venezuela). Perez allowed no earned runs and two hits, striking out three in six innings.  Baseball America ranked Perez as the 31st best prospect in Houston's system after he posted a 2.79 ERA for Greeneville in 2009.  However, Perez's progress has been slowed by Tommy John surgery. 

July 2012 Transactions

Fernando Abad, LHP, optioned from Houston to Oklahoma City.

Luis Alvarez, C, demoted from Lexington to Greeneville. Promoted to Lexington.

Jonnathan Aristil, RHP, released.

Brian Bixler, IF/OF, optioned from Houston to Oklahoma City.

Bobby Borchering, OF/1B/3B, acquired along with Marc Krauss from Arizona for Chris Johnson. Assigned to Corpus Christi.

Jake Buchanan, RHP, promoted from Corpus Christi to Oklahoma City.

Colton Cain, LHP acquired along with two others from Pittsburgh for Wandy Rodriguez. Assigned to Lancaster.

Jon Carnahan, C, signed as an undrafted free agent.  Assigned to GCL Astros.

David Carpenter, RHP, optioned from Houston to Oklahoma City.    Traded to Toronto.

Xavier Cedeno, LHP, promoted from Oklahoma City to Houston.

Jason Chowning, RHP, released.

Jose Cisnero, RHP, promoted from Corpus Christi to Oklahoma City.

Kirk Clark, RHP, released.

Paul Clemens, RHP, demoted from Oklahoma City to Corpus Christi.

Carlos Corporan, C, contract purchased by Houston.  Added to 40-man roster.  Promoted from Oklahoam City to Houston.

Jarred Cosart, RHP, promoted from Corpus Christi to Oklahoma City.

Enerio Del Rosario, RHP promoted from Oklahoma City to Houston. Optioned to Oklahoma City. outrighted to Oklahoma City.  Removed from 40-man roster.

Matt Dominguez, 3B, acquired with Rob Rasmussen for Carlos Lee from Miami.  Promoted from Oklahoma City to Houston.  Optioned from Houston to Oklahoma City.

Bobby Doran, RHP, demoted from Corpus Christi to Lancaster.

Jair Fernandez, C, promoted from Corpus Christi to Oklahoma City.

Adalberto Flores, RHP, demoted from Oklahoma City to Corpus Christi.

Armando Galarraga, RHP, contract purchased, added to 40-man roster.  Promoted from Oklahoma City to Houston.

Rene Garica, C, promoted from Lancaster to Corpus Christi.

Robbie Grossman, OF, acquired along with two others from Pittsburgh for Wandy Rodriguez. Assigned to Corpus Christi.

Mark Hamburger, RHP, claimed off of waivers.  Assigned to Oklahoma City.

Zach Hardoin, LHP, released.

Ben Heath, C, promoted from Lancaster to Corpus Christi.

Matt Heidenreich, RHP, acquired from Chicago White Sox along with two other players for Brett Myers. Assigned to Corpus Christi.

Dallas Keuchel, LHP, optioned from Houston to Oklahoma City. Promoted to Houston.

Marc Krauss, OF, acquired with Bobby Borchering from Arizona for Chris Johnson. Assigned to Corpus Christi.

Jordan Kreke, IF, demoted from Oklahoma City to Corpus Christi. Promoted to Oklahoma City. Demoted to Corpus Christi.

Josh Magee, IF, released.

Luca Martone, SS, released.

Ryan McCurdy, C, promoted from Lexington to Corpus Christi.

Chan Moon, IF, promoted from Lexington to Lancaster.

Cristian Moronta, C, promoted from Greeneville to Lexington.

Drew Muren, OF, demoted from Corpus Christi to Lancaster.

Joe Musgrove, RHP, acquired from Toronto along with six other players for J.A. Happ, Brandon Lyon, and David Carpenter. Assigned to Greeneville.

Ben Orloff, IF, promoted from Lancaster to Corpus Christi.

Rudy Owens, LHP, acquired along with two others from Pittsburgh for Wandy Rodriguez. Assigned to Oklahoma City.

Roberto Pena, C, promoted from Lexington to Lancaster.

Jose Perdomo, RHP, released.

Carlos Perez, C, acquired from Toronto along with six other players for J.A. Happ, Brandon Lyon, and David Carpenter. Assigned to Lancaster.

Juri Perez, RHP, promoted from Tri-City to Lexington.

Carlos Quevedo, RHP, promoted from Lexington to Lancaster.

Euris Quezada, RHP, promoted from Greeneville to Lexington. Demoted to Greeneville.

Rob Rasmussen, LHP, acquired with Matt Dominguez for Carlos Lee from Miami.  Assigned to Corpus Christi.

Aneury Rodriguez, RHP, outrighted to Oklahoma City. Removed from 40-man roster.

David Rollins, LHP, acquired from Toronto along with six other players for J.A. Happ, Brandon Lyon, and David Carpenter. Assigned to Lexington.

Gera Sanchez, RHP, signed as an undrafted free agent.  Assigned to GCL Astros.

Brian Streilein, RHP, released.

Kelvin Vizcaino, OF, released.

Brett Wallace, IF, promoted from Oklahoma City to Houston.

Chris Wallace, C, promoted from Corpus Christi to Oklahoma City.

Blair Walters, LHP, acquired from Chicago White Sox along with two other players for Brett Myers.  Assigned to Lancaster.

Asher Wojciechowski, RHP, acquired from Toronto along with six other players for J.A. Happ, Brandon Lyon, and David Carpenter. Assigned to Corpus Christi.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

JetHawks to Celebrate Christmas in July to Support the Grace Resource Center

The JetHawks will be celebrating Christmas in July when they host Modesto at Clear Channel Stadium on Sunday, July 15. $6 reserved tickets for the contest will be available through the Grace Resource Center, and a portion of the proceeds from those ticket sales will go towards helping the Grace Resource Center feed the hungry of the Antelope Valley.

For 21 years, the Grace Resource Center has worked to eliminate hunger in the Antelope Valley. Over 400 volunteers help to serve those in poverty and the working poor. The Center recently took over operation of the Lancaster Community Homeless Shelter as well.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

It Appears the Tax Man Will Come Knocking on Jim Crane's Door

According to my calculations, the signing of second round pick Nolan Fontana Tuesday puts the Astros over their MLB-mandated budget to sign their first 11 picks.  Based on bonus information gathered from various sources, with 7th Round Pick Preston Tucker still unsigned, Houston has exceeded its draft pool amount by $72,900.  The Astros would be required to pay $54,675 (75%) in tax on this amount.

Assuming Tucker signs for his slotted amount of $151,400, Jim Crane's franchise would owe $168,225 in tax on their overspending.  According to a tweet by @ZacharyLevine, Luhnow addressed the fact that the Astros would likely incur a tax for their draft bonuses. 

He also indicated that the club has no concern about approaching the 5% overage limit, which put them in danger of losing a 2013 draft pick.  They would hit the 5% mark if they spend $558,885 over $11.1777 million on their first 11 picks.

NOTE:  My calculations are based on an unconfirmed report that 8th Round Pick Tyler Heineman signed for his slot value of $140,400.  If he signed for more or less than this amount, numbers need to be adjusted accordingly.

UPDATE:  Lee Street tracked down a confirmation that Heineman actually signed for $125,000.  Based on this update, the Astros currently would owe $43,125 in overage tax. If they sign Tucker for his slotted amount, Houston's tax due would be $156,675. 

If this scenario comes to fruition, the Astros will have invested $11.543 million(including the tax) into the first 10 rounds of the 2012 draft.  For comparison sake, Houston spent only $12.821 million on the entire 2010 and 2011 drafts combined. 

Does Jeff Luhnow Have One More Trick up his Sleeve?

Thanks to "snowconeman22", a commenter on a Clutch Fans forum, who brought up the following possibility concerning who the Astros still might sign from the 2012 draft. Assuming Tyler Heineman signed for his slotted value of $140,400 and the Astros can sign Nolan Fontana and Preston Tucker for a combined total of $700,000, they would set up the following scenario concerning 11th Round Pick Hunter Virant:

They could offer Virant the $100,000 allowable bonus + about $650,000 extra for a total offer of approximately $750,000. At this amount, the Astros would avoid the loss of a draft pick in the 2013 draft. They would also be able to offer mid-second round money to Virant, LHP, a UCLA committment.

NOTE: Minutes after posting this, I see that Fontana has signed for $875,000, rendering this post a pipe dream.  It was fun while it lasted.

The JetHawks and BDQ- A Farmstros' Statistical Experiment

From June 21 through July 20, I plan to track the performance of Lancaster's hitters using an homemade equation which determines a statistic I have named BASE DISPLACEMENT QUOTIENT(BDQ).  Over the 29 scheduled games, JetHawks' batters will be evaluated based on how efficiently they move their teammates and themselves around the bases to the ultimate goal of home plate.  You can follow the results of this statistical experiment here.

Theoretically, a team's combined "BDQ" times total plate appearances divided by 4 should equal approximately the number of runs that team scores.

Three First-Round Picks for the Price of One

When Brian McTaggart and Zach Levine reported on the Astros' signing of Rio Ruiz Monday, they both emphasized that Jeff Luhnow had achieved the team's goal of signing three first-round type players. 

The bountiful haul of potential was accomplished in large part when Houston signed their first pick Carlos Correa for a reported $2.4 million under the amount that was allocated by MLB for the pick.  This savings was in turn used to bring in Ruiz, Lance McCullers and on a smaller scale sixth round pick Brett Phillips.

Ruiz, who was selected in the fourth round, signed for $1.85 million(almost $1.5 over his slotted amount).  Ruiz's bonus was equal to the amount allocated for the 20th pick in the FIRST ROUND.  McCullers signed for $2.5 million, which was approximately double his budgeted amount as a supplemental first round selection.  His actual signing bonus fell between the amounts for a 12th and 13th pick in the FIRST ROUND.

The club's thriftiness in signing the first over-all pick also allowed them to get a potential fourth-round talent in the sixth-round of the draft.  Brett Phillips, a sixth-round selection, signed for $300,000(about $100,000) over his slotted amount.  The amount Phillips signed for is equivalent with a fourth-round draft pick's budgeted signing bonus within MLB's guidelines. 

June 2013 is Closer than You Think

If the 2013 MLB draft started today, the Astros would have the fourth pick.  With an eye on next June's draft, here is a look at the "Top" 10 teams in major league baseball through Monday night's games.

Team           L          W     GB
Cubs          25         48       --
Padres        27         47      1.5
Rockies      28         49      3.5
ASTROS   30          43       5
Mariners     31         44        5
Twins          30         42      5.5
Royals         32         39       8
Brewers      33         40       8
Marlins       34          39      9
Phillies        35          40      9

Monday, June 25, 2012

Raul Rivera, Back on the Mound

Raul Rivera pitched in a game for which keeps score for the first time in over a year Monday in Florida.  The right-hander threw a scoreless frame for the GCL Astros against the Cardinals, allowing one hit in his first outing since 2010. 

Rivera was drafted out of Puerto Rico in 2009(37th Round).  After making four appearances for the GCL Astros that year, Rivera has made only two more appearance(in 2010), missing substantial time with injuries.

International Signing Begins in One Week

The signing of the 2012 crop Rule 4 draftees is nearing its end. So, the Astros and other major league teams will turn their eyes outside the borders as the 2012 international signing period begins one week from today on July 2.  This year's international signing period is governed by new rules, which give each team $2.9 million to spend. 

Astros 2011 International Signings

Astros 2010 International Signings.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

How have the Astros Done Against Their Opponents of the Future?

With the Astros' weekend series against Cleveland completed, the next time Houston faces an American League team in the regular season, it will not be an interleague contest, as the Astros will also be in the American League.  The Astros faced American League competition 245 times during 16 seasons of interleague play from 1997-2012.  Here's a breakdown of how they fared.

AL West- W -   L

Los Angeles- 3 - 3
Oakland-       1 - 5
Seattle-         6  - 3
Texas-         30-42

Total-          40-53

AL Central

Chicago-       10-11
Cleveland-     10- 8
Detroit-           9 - 6
Kansas City-  17-13
Milwaukee-     1 - 2*
Minnesota-      9 -11

Total-             56-51

AL East

Baltimore-       3 - 6
Boston-           2 - 7
New York-     1 - 8
Tampa Bay-    6 - 6
Toronto-         5 - 1

Total-             17-28

vs. AL-          113-132

*- Milwaukee was a member of the American League in 1997, the first year of interleague play.  They played a three-game series against the Astros in the Astrodome that season.

Friday, June 22, 2012

No Waiting, Game Score Calculator

What's that? You say you can't wait to find out the Game Score of the starting pitcher in the game you just watched or listened to or followed on Gameday?  Just for you here is a no frills, GAME SCORE CALCULATOR(Money Back Guaranteed).

Game Score is calculated in the following manner: 50 + Outs recorded + 2*innings completed after the fourth + strikeouts - 2* Hits allowed - 4 * earned runs allowed - 2 * unearned runs allowed - Walks= Game Score.

One More Reason to Listen to Jason Schwartz and the JetHawks

In case listening to a second-half play-off chase(after a shared first-half title) and hearing 2011 first round pick George Springer play isn't enough motivation to listen to the 2012 Lancaster JetHawks for the next few months, there is one more practical reason to tune in to Jason Schwartz as he calls the JetHawks' games.  Preparation for 2013 when the big league club will be playing many more games in the Pacific time zone.

The Astros only have eight games beginning after 9 PM(Minute Maid Park time) on the 2012 schedule.  However, when they move to the AL West in 2013, a schedule similar to the Rangers' 2012 slate is likely. Texas has 19 games this season that begin after 9 pm(MMPT).

Fortunately, Schwartz and the JetHawks provide ample opportunities to ease the transition over the next two and one half months.  55 of the JetHawks' final 69 begin at 9 pm(MMPT) or later.

100 Players, 60 Innings Pitched, Two Wins and a Rainout

100 members of the Astros' organization took the field Thursday during seven games on First Full Farm Day. It was the first day of the 2012 season on which all eight affiliates were scheduled to play.

Houston's farm teams won two and lost five. The DSL Astros were rained out. A few statistics from the day:


Batters were 61 for 246 for a .248 batting average.

24 Runs, seven doubles, one triple, two home runs and 22 RBI.

55 runners left on base, nine stolen bases, 21 walks, and 57 strikeouts.


60 IP, 58 H, 40 R, 37 ER, 5.56 ERA.

10 home runs allowed, 27 walks, 52 strikeouts.

Total attendance-24,217 (This attendance is for six games. The GCL Astros don't post attendance.)

Time of play- 19:35

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Happy First Full Farm Day!

Today is a special day in the Farmstros Village.  It is the first day of the 2012 season when all eight affiliates are scheduled to play a game.  In an interesting twist, First Full Farm Day 2012 falls on an off day for the parent club Astros.

June 21, 2012- First Full Farm Day 2012:

DSL Astros at DSL Cardinals, 9:30 am (Minute Maid Park time)

GCL Astros at GCL Marlins, 11 am
The Astros lost the contest 4-0.

Tri-City vs. Vermont, 6 pm
The Valley Cats won 5-3.

Greeneville at Johnson City, 6 pm
Greeneville won 10-3.

Lexington at West Virginia, 6:05 pm
The Legends lost 9-4.
Corpus Christi at San Antonio, 7:05 pm
The Hooks lost 5-3 in 11 innings.

Oklahoma City at Nashville, 7:05 pm
The RedHawks lost 2-1.

Lancaster at Lake Elisnore, 9:05 pm
The JetHawks lost 14-1.

Singleton to Represent Astros in Futures' Game

Corpus Christi first baseman Jon Singleton has been named to the United States roster for the 2012 edition of the MLB Futures' Game.  The contest is scheduled to take place on Sunday, June 8 in Kansas City, two days before the MLB All-Star Game.

Singleton, 20, has 11 home runs and 42 RBI in 67 games for the Hooks.  He has a total of 26 extra-base hits, a .274 batting average and a .487 slugging percentage.  Singleton was acquired by the Astros from Philadelphia last summer in the Hunter Pence trade.

According to the list of previous Futures' Game participants, seven current Astros(including players on the disabled list) have been a part of the game in its first 13 installments.  Jose Altuve was the club's 2011 representative.

The Astros' representatives in the Futures' Game(Current Astros are in bold):

2012- Jon Singleton
2011- Jose Altuve
2010- Jordan Lyles
2009- Jason Castro
           Chia-jen Lo
2008- Polin Trinidad
2007- J.R. Towles
          Jimmy Van Ostrand
2006- Jason Hirsh
          Hunter Pence
2005- Fernando Nieve
          Troy Patton
2004- Chris Burke
2003- Chris Burke
2002- John Buck
2001- Carlos Hernandez
           Jason Lane
2000- Carlos Hernandez
           Wilfredo Rodriguez
1999- Lance Berkman

Travis Buck(2006), Brett Myers(2001&2002), Fernando Martinez(2008) and Brett Wallace(2009) participated in the Futures' Game while they were members of other organizations.

2012 Farmstros Five- Week #11

Here is the Farmstros Five for the week of June 14-20:

Jose Cisnero, 23, RHP, Corpus Christi.  Cisnero pitched a complete game, two-hit shutout.  He struck out six in the gem.

Jonas Dufek, 23, RHP, Lexington.  Dufek allowed one run and three hits, striking out seven in his start during the week.

Ross Seaton, 22, RHP, Corpus Christi.  Seaton made two starts for the Hooks.  He allowed three runs and 11 hits, striking out 10 in 15 IP. In addition, he had an RBI double at the plate.

Nick Tropeano, 21, RHP, Lexington.  Tropeano pitched seven scoreless innings allowing three hits and striking out seven. 

Who is the Farmstros Five #5 for Week 11?

The Farmstros Five #5:

Three groups are in the running for this weeks Farmstros Five #5, please vote for your choice.

Corpus Christi Bullpen. The Hooks won three extra-inning games in Week 11(11, 12, and 12 innings), and the bullpen played a big role in those victories.  Erick Abreu, Kevin Chapman, Arcenio Leon, Alex Sogar, Jason Stoffel, Henry Villar, and Josh Zeid chipped in throughout the week.  They combined to post a 1.21 ERA in 22 1/3 IP.  The bullpen allowed 20 hits and struck out 26.

GCL Astros Opening Day Pitchers.  A majority of the attention on Monday in Kissimmee was on the #1 draft pick playing shortstop.  However, Alan Abreu, Ambiorix DeLeon, Michael Feliz, Juan Mojica and Jose Montero stole the show.  The five pitchers allowed only six hits and struck out five over 13 innings.  The GCL Astros opened the season with a 1-0 victory over the GCL Cardinals.

The JetHawks. Lancaster ended the first half of their season by sweeping three games(Thursday-Saturday).  The wins put them into a tie for the first half championship in the California League South Division.  It was the first division title for an Astros' full season affiliate since 2006. 

Numerous players contributed to the three victories.  David Martinez pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing two hits.  George Springer was 8 for 13 with four extra-base hits and six RBI.  Chris Epps was 5 for 8 with two home runs and six RBI.  Domingo Santana was 5 for 12 with four RBI.

NOTE:  The Astros' High A affiliate Salem made the Carolina League play-offs in 2007.  However, the Avanlanche finished in second place in their division behind Kinston in both the first and second halves of the season.  They qualified for the post-season as a wild card.

Draft Picks in Omaha- An Update

Four players that the Astros picked in the 2012 draft are participating in the College World Series.  They will be able to sign with the Astros once the tournament end.  The CWS will be completed on June 25 or 26.

Here's a summary of the quartet:

2nd Round-Nolan Fontana, SS and 7th Round-Preston Tucker, OF, Florida.

Eliminated June 18.

In two games in Omaha, Tucker was 3 for 8 with one double and two RBI.  Fontana was 1 for 6 with two runs scored.

8th Round-Tyler Heineman, C, UCLA

Eliminated June 19.

In three games in Nebraska, Heineman was  1 for 10 with one scored.

20th Round-Michael Clark, LHP, Kent St.

Eliminated June 21.
Clark appeared in one of Kent State's three CWS games.  He retired one batter and walked three, allowing no runs and no hits in the Golden Flashes win over Florida Monday.  In that contest, he got Fontana to pop out and walked Tucker.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Lo Throws

In case you have been wondering what is going on with Chia-jen Lo, he made an appearance for the GCL Astros Wednesday afternoon in Kissimmee.  Lo started the game and threw one perfect inning against the GCL Marlins.  He induced two ground outs and one infield pop out.

Lo, 26, joined the Astros' organization with a bang in 2009.  The native of Taiwan split that season between Lancaster and Corpus Christi posting a 2.10 ERA with 75 strikeouts in 64 1/3 IP. However, he injured his arm early in 2010 and has not made a long-term return yet.  He pitched two innings for Lexington in 2011.

Kudos to whoever made this Switch

I was sincerely impressed when I found out the following information that affects Astros' fans of the future, so I share it with my readers.

Tuesday night students whose schools participate in the Astros Perfect Attendance promotion were able to turn their perfect attendance into two free tickets to the Houston/Kansas City game at Minute Maid Park.  This is the third of four dates students who had perfect attendance could choose from this season.  It was impressive to me that all four of the dates that are options are not on school nights this year.  In previous seasons, when my children received this award, at least two of the four options were on school nights.  It seemed contradictory to me that the Astros rewarded kids with the chance to go to a game that would conflict with going to school the next day.   For what it is worth, a big thumbs up from this desk to whoever made the decision on this change.

An added bonus: The Astros also have free ticket programs for Honor Roll students in secondary schools and Summer Readers through local libraries.  These tickets are all available on non-school nights as well.

Second Half Starts Today

When the Hooks take the field for game three of their series in San Antonio Wednesday night, they will be starting the second half of the Texas League season.  The Hooks finished the first half of the season 37-33 in second place in the Texas League South Division.  They were four games behind Frisco.  The other two Astros' full season affiliates who compete in a split-season format will begin the second half of their season on Thursday night. 

Lancaster finished the first half at 37-33 in a three-way tie for first in the California League's South Division.  Based on the league's tiebreaker procedures, the JetHawks won't qualify for the play-offs as the first half champion.  However, they have two more opportunities to keep playing after Labor Day.  A second half championship earns a play-off berth.  Also, the team in the division that has the best over-all record without winning the first or second half championship earns a wild-card berth.

Lexington wrapped up their first half with a 39-30 record.  However, they finished fourth in the South Atlantic League Divison, 7 1/2 games behind Asheville.

The Astros' AAA affiliate plays in a full-season format league, the Pacific Coast League. Oklahoma City, 42-29, currently leads the Southern Division of the American Conference by 2 1/2 games.

Lexington/Lancaster all-star Recap

Here is a recap of how representatives of the JetHawks and Legends did in their all-star games Tuesday night.  Both teams resume play Thursday.

Lancaster- Carolina League vs. California League All-Star Game

George Springer- 0 for 3, one RBI, one BB, one K

Bobby Doran- 1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 1 K (L)

Lexington- South Atlantic League All-Star Game

Michael Foltynewicz- Starting pitcher- 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 4 K

Carlos Quevedo- 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 K

Zach Johnson- 0 for 3, 1 K

Matt Duffy- 2 for 2

Delino DeShields, Jr.- 0 for 2, 1 BB, 1 K, 2 errors

Nick Tropeano- Did not play

Jason Chowning- Promoted to Lancaster since being named to the all-star team

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Houser to Be Ninth (and Final) Opening Day Starter of 2012

Adrian Houser is slated to take the mound for Greeneville tonight when they open their season at Johnson City. Houser, 19, was a second round pick in the 2011 draft. He split last summer between Greeneville and the GCL Astros. He made six starts for Greeneville, posting a 4.56 ERA in 25 2/3 IP. Houser will be the ninth member of the Astros' organization to be an Opening Day starter this season.

The Opening Day Starters:

June 19, Greeneville, Adrian Houser
June 18, Tri-City, Vincent Velasquez
June 18, GCL Astros, Michael Feliz
June 2, DSL Astros, Edwin Villarroel
April 6, Houston, Wandy Rodriguez
April 5, Oklahoma City, Paul Clemens
April 5, Corpus Christi, Jarred Cosart
April 5, Lancaster, David Martinez
April 5, Lexington, Michael Foltynewicz

Velasquez, Valley Cats Win Vermont Primary

Vincent Velasquez picked up a win in his first game since returning from Tommy John surgery, and Tri-City knocked of the Vermont Lake Monsters 10-2 in their 2012 season opener.  Velasquez, who missed the entire 2011 season, faced two batters over the minimum in a five inning stint.  The 2010 2nd Round Draft Pick allowed two hits and struck out six Lake Monsters.

2012 Farmstros Five- Week #10

Here's the Farmstros Five for the week of June 7-13, 2012:

The Top Performer:

Drew Locke, 29, OF, Corpus Christi.  Locke only played in five games after returning to the organization from the Sugar Land Skeeters.  He finished his week with grand slams in back to back games for the Hooks.  Over-all, he was 8 for 21 with three home runs and 12 RBI.  Corpus won all five games in which Locke played.

The Next Three:

R.J. Alaniz, 21, RHP, Lancaster.  In his one start this week for the JetHawks, Alaniz pitched eight scoreless innings, allowing four hits and striking out four.

Matt Duffy, 23, IF, Lexington.  Duffy was 13 for 26 with one double, one home run, four RBI and five runs scored.

Evan Grills, 20, LHP, Lexington.  Grills pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings over three relief appearances.  He allowed five hits and struck out three.

Who is the Farmstros Five #5 for Week 10?
Candidates for the Farmstros Five #5:

Jose Cisnero, 23, RHP, Corpus Christi.  Cisnero allowed just one run in a seven-inning start.  He gave up six hits and struck out six.

Mike Foltynewicz, 20, RHP, Lexington. In two starts, Foltynewicz allowed three runs in 13 1/3 IP for the Legends.  He gave up 12 hits and struck out seven.

Brett Oberholtzer, 22, LHP, Corpus Christi.  Oberholtzer made two starts and allowed 3 runs and eight hits in 13 2/3 IP.  He struck out 16.

Jimmy Paredes, 23, 2B, Oklahoma City.  Paredes was 15 for 32 for the RedHawks.  He had one double, one triple, five RBI, eight runs scored and three stolen bases.

Drew Robinson, 24, RHP, Lancaster.  Robinson struck out 11 over three scoreless relief appearances.  In 5 2/3 IP, he gave up on only two hits.

Edwin Villarroel, 17, LHP, DSL Astros.  In his start, Villarroel pitched seven innings and gave up six hits and no earned runs.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Correa Debuts, GCL Astros Win Opener

#1 draft pick Carlos Correa reached base in the first and last innings of his first professional game as the Gulf Coast League Astros won their 2012 season opener over the Cardinals 1-0 in 13 innings.  Correa, batting second in the order, singled in his professional at bat in the bottom of the first inning.  After the single, Correa stole second base.  In the bottom of the 13th inning, he walked to load the bases with one out.  In between the first and the 13th inning, Correa was retired four consecutive times by Cardinals pitchers: Ground Out, Ground Out, Swinging Strikeout and Fly Out.

The Cardinals batters of the future kept Correa busy in the field.  Over 13 innings at Shortstop, Correa had eight assists(including one that started a double play), three put-outs and one fielding error.

After Correa's bases-loading walk in the 13th inning, Teoscar Hernandez popped out to the catcher.  According to the game recap, Kelvin Vizcaino subsequently scored the game-winning run from third base on a throwing error by the Cardinals' first baseman. 

Five GCL Astros pitchers combined to hold the Cardinals scoreless on six hits over 13 innings.  Jose Montero, making his first stateside appearance, pitched the 13th inning and earned the victory.

Following the DH of the Future

With the conclusion of their series against the Rangers at Arlington, the next time the Astros will use a Designated Hitter is Opening Day 2013, when they are scheduled to start playing in the American League.

With the Designated Hitter an inevitable part of the near future of Houston baseball, here is a look at how the DH's for the Astros' top two affiliates, Oklahoma City and Corpus Christi have fared to this point in the 2012 season.

Oklahoma City Red Hawks

Total- 14 for 58(.241)- 5 HRs and 15 RBI

Mike Hessman- 6 for 21, 3 HR, 7 RBI
Brett Wallace- 1 for 9, 1 HR, 3 RBI
Fernando Martinez-3 for 8, 3 RBI
Scott Moore- 2 for 8, 1 HR, 2 RBI
J.B. Shuck- 1 for 5
Brad Snyder- 1 for 4
Jacob Goebbert- 0 for 3

Corpus Christi Hooks

Total- 38 for 167(.228)- 6 2B, 10 HR, 26 RBI

Kody Hinze- 21 for 94, 3 2B, 4 HR, 15 RBI
Austin Wates- 5 for 23
Brandon Barnes- 2 for 12, 2 HR, 2 RBI
Jacob Goebbert- 2 for 11, 2 2B, 3 RBI
Jon Singleton- 3 for 8, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Jordan Kreke- 2 for 8, 1 RBI
Chris Wallace- 1 for 7, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Carlos Lee- 1 for 3, 1 HR, 2 RBI
T.J. Steele- 1 for 1, 1 HR, 1 RBI

Draft Signing Bonus Guide

Here's a link to a breakdown of the Astros' Draft picks and signing bonuses.

Vincent Velasquez Returns in Vermont

Right-hander Vincent Velasquez is scheduled to return to the mound for the first time in almost 22 months Monday night when Tri-City begins their 2012 season at the Vermont Lake Monsters.  Velasquez is slated to start the contest for Stubby Clapp's squad.

The Astros drafted Velasquez in the second round of the 2010 draft out of high school in Garey, California.  After signing for a $655,830 bonus, Velasquez made eight appearance(six starts) for the Greeneville Astros in 2010 and posted a 3.07 ERA.  However, he underwent Tommy John surgery after the 2010 season and missed all of 2011.  His last professional outing on August 24, 2010 lasted 3 2/3 innings against Princeton at Pioneer Park in Greeneville.

10 From DSL Astros Make Stateside Debut in Florida

When the GCL Astros  play the first game of their season Monday in Kissimmee against the GCL Cardinals, ten players on their roster will making their stateside debut.  The ten are products of the Astros' Dominican Academy. 

The Ten new guys on the GCL roster:

Agapito Barrios, 18, RHP(1st Season in DSL-2011).  Barrios made 13 starts in the Dominican in 2011. He posted a 4.60 ERA.

Luis De La Rosa, 20, OF(2009).  De La Rosa did not play in 2011.  He batted .270 with 30 RBI in 2010.

Ambiorix DeLeon, 20, LHP(2010).  DeLeon pitched 56 1/3 innings as a starter and a reliever in 2011.  He allowed 51 hits.

Edison Frias, 21, RHP(2011).  Frias only made four appearances in 2011, pitching 17 innings.

Reymin Guduan, 20, LHP(2010).  In 45 2/3 innings in 2011, Guduan struck out 61 batters and posted a 2.17 ERA.

Jandel Gustave, 19, RHP(2010). Gustave struck out 19 in 19 1/3 innings in 2011.

Teoscar Hernandez, 19, OF(2011).  Hernandez was the DSL Astros MVP in 2011. He batted .274 with 13 doubles, seven triples, seven home runs, 35 RBI and 16 stolen bases.

Jose Montero, 19, RHP(2010).  Montero posted a 2.59 ERA in 13 2010 starts.  He didn't pitch in 2011.

Franny Polanco, 20, C(2010).  Polanco batted .292 and was a DSL All-Star in 2011.

Jose Solano, 20, IF(2010).  Solano batted .282 in 2011 with 21 stolen bases in 65 games.

UPDATE:  Thanks to a commnter who noted that one more player snuck onto the GCL roster when I wasn't looking.

Juan Santana, 17, OF(2011).  Santana was a DSL all-star in 2011.  He batted .274 with 15 extra-base hits and 28 RBI.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

After Further Review, It's a Tie

Lancaster knocked off Inland Empire 5-3 Saturday night to to complete a three-game sweep and finish the first half of the 2012 season in a three-way tie for first place in the California League's South Division.  Lancaster, Rancho Cucamonga and High Desert all finished the first half with a 37-33 record.  However, because of their better records in head to head to head games amongst the three teams , Rancho Cucamonga and High Desert will face off on the field to qualify for the 1st Half Division title.  A designated regular season game between the two clubs will be the tiebreaker contest.

The winner of the 1st half earns a play-off berth and a first-round bye  in the post-season.  Lancaster will begin the second half of their season Thursday after the all-star break.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Dallas is Heading for...Arlington

According to Brian McTaggart(@brianmctaggart) and Zachary Levine(@zacharylevine) on Twitter, Dallas Keuchel is in Arlington and will presumably be the Astros' starter on Sunday, replacing the injured Bud Norris. Keuchel, 24, has made 13 starts for Oklahoma City in 2012 and posted a 4.26 ERA in 80 1/3 IP. The left-hander, drafted out of the University of Arkansas in 2009, was scheduled to start for the RedHawks on Thursday night in Round Rock. However, he was replaced by Sergio Perez in that spot.

JetHawks Still have a Chance to Kiss Their Sisters

If the JetHawks win their first half finale at Clear Channel Stadium Saturday against Inland Empire and get some help from High Desert, they will end the first half tied for first in the South Division of the California League.  Lancaster, High Desert and Lake Elsinore are all one game behind division leader Rancho Cucamonga heading into the final game of the first half.  
High Desert is hosting Rancho Cucamonaga, while Lake Elsinore is scheduled to finish the half at North Division champion, Bakersfield.  Based on the league's tie breaking procedures, the JetHawks are out of the running for the play-off berth that accompanies a first half division title.  However, a Lancaster win combined with a High Desert victory over Rancho Cucamonga would result in a three-way tie for the title including the Astros' High A affiliate.  Lake Elsinore could make it a four-way tie if they knock off Bakersfield this evening.
Whatever the result this evening, the JetHawks will have a few days to recover before they begin the second half of the season.  The team will be off until Thursday night for the all-star break.

Friday, June 15, 2012

And You Thought the Fifth Starter was Taken Care Of

With the announcement today that Bud Norris will miss Sunday's start in Arlington, the Astros are in need of another starter to fill his spot against the Rangers.(Just re-read the Astros' website:  Norris is NOT officially out tomorrow, but he is unlikely to start.) The least complicated course of action would be to bring someone up who is on the 40-man roster.  Paul Clemens last pitched for Oklahoma City on Tuesday, so his turn to pitch is Sunday; however, Clemens has been less than effective for the RedHawks with an ERA over 6.  Aneury Rodriguez has struggled at AAA as well.  He pitched out of the bullpen in his last outing on Wednesday.

The Astros' 40-man roster currently stands at 40, so adding a starting pitcher to the 40-man roster would require that a transaction be made to clear space.  Moving Sergio Escalona to the 60-day disabled list would be one way to clear that space.

Here's a look at four non-roster pitchers who could be considered(in alphabetical order):

Jose Cisnero, RHP.  In his last four starts for the Hooks, Cisnero has posted a 2.16 ERA over 25 IP.  He has surrendered 21 hits and struck out 28 batters.  His most recent start was on Monday giving him five days' rest before Sunday.  NOTE:  The Rangers' Saturday starter is scheduled to be a non 40-man roster promotee from AA, Justin Grimm.  Update:  Cisnero is posted as the Saturday starter on the Hooks' website.

Armando Galarraga, RHP.  Galarraga made his most recent start on Monday, so he would be going on five days' rest.  In his second start in the Astros' system and first at the AAA level, Galarraga pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings at New Orleans. Update:  Galarraga is posted as the Saturday starter on the RedHawks' website.

Dallas Keuchel, LHP.  Keuchel missed his scheduled start on Thursday at Round Rock being replaced by spot starter Sergio Perez.  Keuchel has a 4.26 ERA at AAA this season.  He hasn't pitched since June 9.

Brett Oberholtzer, LHP.  Oberholtzer has a 2.27 ERA over his last five starts for the Hooks.  He has allowed 33 hits over 31 2/3 IP in those starts.  His most recent start was Tuesday in Corpus, so Sunday would be his normal turn to pitch.

UPDATE:  One more non 40-man roster starting pitcher to keep in mind in case Luhnow and Company go outside the box is Wes Musick.  Musick started the season at Lancaster.  However, he has pitched his way up to AAA with the help of some injuries.  In five AAA starts, he has posted a 3.14 ERA.  In his most recent start, the left-hander pitched five scoreless innings for Oklahoma City.  However, that start was on Wednesday, so pitching again on Sunday in Arlington would give him only three days' rest.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Silver Boot Series Includes AA and AAA This Weekend

The Astros and Rangers are scheduled to resume the Silver Boot Series Friday night in Arlington.  However, this weekend the competition between Texas' two baseball organizations includes their AA and AAA affiliates as well.

AA Corpus Christi started a four game series in Frisco Thursday night with a 4-3 loss.  With the loss, the Hooks fall five games behind the Roughriders with only five games to play in the season's first half.  Frisco now leads its season series with Corpus Christi seven games to six.

Meanwhile the Astros' AAA affiliate is back in its old Texas home, Dell Diamond, where they are taking on the Round Rock Express.  Oklahoma City knocked of the Express 10-6 in the first game of a four game set Thursday night.  The RedHawks increased their season series lead over Round Rock to 4-1.

Seven Hooks Selected as All-Stars

Seven members of the Corpus Christi have been selected to participate in the Texas League All-Star Game.  The game will take place on Thursday, June 28 at Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The Hooks named to the South Division squad for the contest:
Kevin Chapman, LHP
Jose Martinez, IF*
Brett Oberholtzer, LHP
Jon Singleton, 1B/OF*
Jason Stoffel, RHP
Jonathan Villar, SS
Austin Wates, OF*
*-Selected as a starter

Short Season Rosters Announced

The Astros made their short season rosters official Thursday.  You can find the Tri-City, Greeneville, GCL Astros players here.

The Best the JetHawks Can Hope for is a Tie

Lancaster still has a chance to end the first half of the season tied for the California League South Division lead.  However, based on the league's tiebreaker procedures, the JetHawks have been mathematically elminated from contention from the 1st Half title and the play-off berth that goes with it.

Following are the standings as teams enter their final three game series before the all-star break.

Rancho Cucamonga- 36-31- ----
High Desert- 35-32-  1
Lake Elsinore- 35-32- 1
Lancaster- 34-33- 2

Thursday through Saturday, Lancaster hosts Inland Empire; High Desert hosts Rancho Cucamonga; and Lake Elsinore travels to Bakerfield for three games.

Two scenarios would land the JetHawks in a tie for the 1st Half division lead at the end of play on Saturday:

Scenario #1
Lancaster sweeps
High Desert beats Rancho Cucamonga 2 games to 1.
Lake Elsinore beats Bakersfield 2 games to 1.

The result is a 4-way tie at 37-33. 

Under California League rules, a four-way tie is narrowed down to the top two teams.  Those two teams face off on the field during the second half of the season to determine the first-half champion.  The first tiebreaker in such a situation is head to head records.  In this four-way tie, High Desert(20-14) and Rancho Cucamonga(23-17) have the top two head to head to head to head records.  Lake Elsinore(17-21) and the JetHawks(18-24) would miss out.

Scenario #2
Lancaster sweeps
High Desert beats Rancho Cucamonga 2 games to 1.
Lake Elsinore loses to Bakersfield 2 games to 1 or gets swept.

The result is a 3-way tie between Lancaster, Rancho Cucamonga and High Deserts at 37-33.

The three-way tie would also come down to head to head to head records and the JetHawks would be left out.  High Desert(12-10) and Rancho Cucamonga(15-13) would advance ahead of Lancaster(11-15).

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Next Up for the Hooks...Jarred Cosart

With their victory Wednesday night, the Hooks have won seven in a row and pulled to within four games of Frisco in the South Division of the Texas League.  Just six games remain in the first half of the season, so in all likelihood Corpus needs to sweep their four-game road series against the division-leading Roughriders that starts tomorrow to have a chance at the title. 

Jarred Cosart is scheduled to start tomorrow's opener in Frisco.  In fact, Cosart is in line to start two of Corpus' final six games of the half.  The Hooks' chances of catching the Roughriders in the pennant race will get a boost if the top-ranked pitcher in the Astros' system can turn around his most recent performances.  The Hooks ARE 2-1 in Cosart's three most recent starts, however Cosart has an ERA of 6.16 over 19 innings in those starts.

Is Drew Locke Playing Slow Pitch Softball?

Don't expect San Antonio to pitch to Corpus Christi outfielder Drew Locke again with the bases loaded any time soon.

For the second straight night, Locke hit a late inning grand slam against the Missions to propel the Hooks to victory at Whataburger Field. With the slam, Locke tied Mark Saccomanno for the franchise lead with four grand slams.  According to Greg Rajan, it is the first time the Hooks have hit grand slams in consecutive games.  The Hooks next face San Antonio in the Alamo City on Monday.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Talk about being LOCKED IN WITH DREW

It didn't take long for Drew Locke to make himself feel at home back at Whataburger Field in Corpus Christi.  In his fourth game since re-signing with the Astros' organization and joining the Hooks, Locke hit a grand slam in the bottom of the seventh inning that gave Corpus Christi a 4-0 lead.  If the Hooks hold on to win the game, it will be their sixth straight victory and fourth straight since Locke came aboard.  In his four games as a 2012 Hook, Locke is 7 for 17 with one double, two home runs(counting tonight's slam) and eight RBI. 

Locke was the Hooks' MVP in 2009, when he had a legitimate shot at the Texas League triple crown.  He played for the Astros' organization in AAA in 2010 and 2011.  He was playing for the independent league Sugar Land Skeeters, when the Astros brought him back

1st Half Title Still in Reach for Hooks

It will take a string of road victories and some assistance from the Midland Rock Hounds, but thanks to their current five-game winning streak, there is still an outside chance that Corpus Christi could win the 1st Half title in the Texas League's South Division.  If the Hooks win the title, it would clinch the franchise's first trip to the play-offs since the 2006 squad won the Texas League championship.
Entering play tonight, the Hooks and Midland are both five games behind Frisco with eight games left in the first half of the season.  Corpus plays two more home games against San Antonio before wrapping up the half with four games at Frisco and two games at San Antonio.  Frisco has four games remaining against Midland(two in Frisco and two in Midland) in addition to their series against the Hooks.  The first half of the 2012 slate concludes Tuesday, June 19. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Three Teams Between JetHawks and a Division Title

The JetHawks will need to pass three teams in the next five days if they are to become the first Astros' full-season affiliate to make the play-offs since 2007.  A win Monday night at Rancho Cucamonga would have put Lancaster in a four-way tie for the California League South Divsion first half title. 
However, the JetHawks gave up three runs in the bottom of the ninth to lose 5-4 and fall two games behind the division- leading Quakes.  Lake Elsinore and High Desert are tied for second one game behind Rancho Cucamonga. The JetHawks play two more games at Rancho Cucamonga before closing the first half with a three-game home stand against Inland Empire, Thursday through Saturday.

Springer, Doran Have Carolina on their Minds

George Springer and Bobby Doran will be making the trip to Winston-Salem, North Carolina next week to represent the JetHawks and the California League in the California League vs. Carolina League All-Star Game.  The game, pitting stars from two of baseball's three High A leagues is scheduled to take place Tuesday, June 19 at the home of the White Sox High A affiliate.
Springer has batted .291 thus far in his first full season as a professional after being the Astros' first round pick in 2011.  He has nine doubles, six triples, 11 home runs, 41 RBI, 49 runs scored and 13 stolen bases in 56 games.  Springer was selected by the Farmstros Village as the Player of the Month in May.
Doran had a 3.99 ERA entering his 13th start of the season Monday night.  In his second campaign with the JetHawks, he has allowed 73 hits and struck out 51 in 70 innings.  According to Jason Schwartz, the JetHawks play-by-play announcer, Doran is slated to start for Lancaster Saturday in their final game before the all-star break. As a result of this, he will likely not pitch in the game in North Carolina.

Where are the Draft Picks Going?

You can find the full draft list including assignments here.

Four Draft Picks won't be Signing This Week

No matter how persuasive Jeff Luhnow might be, three Astros' draft picks won't be signing a contract this week. 

Nolan Fontana, 2nd Round and Preston Tucker, 7th Round out of Florida and Tyler Heieneman, 8th Round of UCLA will be traveling with their college teams to Omaha, Nebraska for the College World Series, which begins Friday. The trio will be eligible to sign with Houston once their participation in the tournament has ended.  The final game of the College World Series is scheduled for June 26.

Florida swept North Carolina St. in the Super Regional to advance to Omaha.  Tucker was 3 for 7 in the 2-game series.  He had a home run, scoring four runs and batting in two.  Fontana was only 1 for 9 with a run scored for the Gators.

UCLA swept TCU in their Super Regional match-up.  Heineman was 1 for 7 with one run and one RBI as the Bruins advanced.

UPDATE: My apologies to the Golden Flashes.  A member of the Village pointed out to me via Twitter that I had forgotten the Kent St. baseball team.  20th Round pick Michael Clark and his Golden Flash teammates face Oregon today in Eugene, Oregon at 6 pm(Minute Maid Park time).  The winner of that contest advances to Omaha.  Clark, a left-hander who has pitched mostly in relief this season, threw 2/3 of an inning in Kent State's loss Sunday.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Rule of Run Expectancy Yet to Reach Oklahoma

To the best of my knowledge, Chickasaw Ballpark at Bricktown does not have a run expectancy board included in its scoreboard. The absence of a such a feature is a good thing, because it would have been broken during the RedHawks' 12-7 home loss to New Orleans Saturday night.

With the RedHawks leading the game 7-6, Oklahoma City reliever Jose Valdez retired the first two Zephyr batters in the top of the ninth inning. Any faithful decision scientists at the game started to log out and put away their lap tops, as the expectancy of New Orleans scoring even ONE in this situation was miniscule.

However, the Zephyrs' bats had another probability in mind. Before Valdez left the mound without recording the third out, he allowed two singles, two doubles, one triple and an intentional walk. Jimmy Paredes also committed a throwing error behind the RedHawks' closer. All told, a highly unexpected six runs had crossed the plate for the Zephyrs. Sergio Perez relieved Valdez with Oklahoma City trailing 12-7.

Oklahoma City's J.B. Shuck walked and moved to second base on a passed ball to lead off the bottom of the ninth inning. However, nothing else out of the ordinary happened and the visiting Zephyrs left the ballpark with a win.

Big Last Week (of First Half) for JetHawks

The last week of the first half of the season promises drama in the South Division of the California League. With seven games left in the season's first half, four teams, including the JetHawks, are within one game of the lead. Lake Elsinore is currently on top of the division. High Desert, Rancho Cucamonga and Lancaster are all one game back as play begins on Sunday. The first half division winner receives a first-round bye in the 2012 post-season. Lancaster plays finishes a series at Inland Empire Sunday. The JetHawks finish the first half with three games at Rancho Cucamonga and a three game homestand against Inland Empire, which wraps up Saturday.

The PTBNL Has Been Named

According to Zachary Levine(@zacharylevine) on Twitter, the Astros have announced that outfielder D'Andre Toney is the Player to Be Named Later in the trade that sent Jason Bourgeois and Humberto Quintero to the Royals during spring training. The Royals drafted Toney in the 14th Round of the 2011 draft out of Gulf Coast CC. The Astros also received reliever Kevin Chapman, currently with Corpus Chriti in the deal. However, they had to wait until a year after Toney had been signed by Kansas City to officially announce Toney as the second player acquired.  According to Levine's tweet, Toney will begin 2012 with Greeneville.

After sigining with the Royals, Toney,20, spent 2011 in the Arizona Fall League. He batted .340(51-150) with 12 doubles, five triples, five home runs, and 29 RBI. Baseball America listed him as the 19th best prospect in the 2011 Arizona Fall League. He was drafted by the Marlins out of high school in 2010, but did not sign.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

With Dominoes Falling, Drew Locke Returns

One of the dominoes that has fallen as a result of the recent rash of injuries on the Astros' injuries is the return of Drew Locke to Whataburger Field. 

As Zach Levine pointed out on Twitter earlier today, four Astros have gone on the disabled list in the past week.  As a result of these moves, numerous players have had to be called up from Oklahoma City to Houston.  In addition, today Jake Goebbert was promoted from Corpus Christi to Oklahoma City.  Goebbert's promotion leaves a spot for an outfielder on the Hooks' roster.

That spot will be filled by Drew Locke, who had his best professional season as a member of the Hooks in 2009.  In that season, Locke batted .338 with 20 home runs and 109 RBI.  He spent 2010 and 2011 playing AAA for the Astros at Round Rock and Oklahoma City. 

Locke left the Astros' organization after the 2011 season as a free agent.  He played the first six weeks of the 2012 season with the Sugar Land Skeeters.  In 40 games for the Skeeters, he had a .285 batting average, four home runs and 24 RBI.  According to Greg Rajan of the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Locke is in the Hooks' starting line-up for tonight's game against Midland.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Three Draft Picks Still on the Road to Omaha

Three of the Astros' selections in this week's draft are scheduled to play in the Super Regionals of the NCAA Division I Tournament this weekend.  If the national seedings hold true, all three of them could be meeting in the National Championship Series in Omaha at the end of the month.

8th round pick Tyler Heineman, C, is a member of the UCLA squad, which is the #2 over-all seed on the road to Omaha.  The Bruins begin a best of three super-regional against TCU today in Los Angeles.

2nd round pick Nolan Fontana, SS and 7th Round pick Preston Tucker, OF are members of the the #1 seeded Florida Gators.  The Gators host a super-regional against North Carolina St. beginning Saturday in Gainesville.

All three players played in all three of their teams' three games during last weekend's regionals.

Heineman- 3 for 12 with one double, two runs scored an one RBI.

Tucker- 5 for 13 with one double, one home run, four runs scored and two RBI.

Fontana- 4 for 11 with four runs scored and two RBI.

RedHawks haven't lost at Home in More than Four Weeks

Since May 10, seven of the nine baseball teams in the Big XII Conference have lost more games at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark than that stadium's main tenant, the Oklahoma City RedHawks. With their 9-5 home victory over New Orleans Thursday night, the RedHawks have won a franchise-record 14 straight games at home. The Astros' AAA affiliate also extended their division lead over Albuquerque to 4 1/2 games. Since the RedHawks' last home loss on May 9, Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark hosted the Big XII Baseball Tournament May 23-27. During that five day event only Missouri, who won the tournament, and Texas Tech who did not participate, avoided defeat on the RedHawks' home field.

Jeff Lasky Returns to the Air for JetHawks' play-off Chase

Former Lancaster play-by-play announcer Jeff Lasky isn't behind the JetHawks' microphone any more, but this weekend he will be part of the team's play-off chase.  Lasky (@JeffLaskydotcom) tweeted that he will be calling a few games for the High Desert Mavericks this weekend when they take on Rancho Cucamonga.  With nine days left in the first half of the season, High Desert leads the JetHawks in the South Division of the California League by one game. The division race promises to be a tight one as Lake Elsinore is also one game behind High Desert, Rancho Cucamonga trails by only two games with nine games to play. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Farmstros Five Week #9- Double Your Pleasure

The Week of May 31-June 6, 2012 was eventful in a very good way in the Astros' organization.
The Astros' four top affiliates started out the week Thursday night by playing a total of 51 innings and winning all three of their four games to end the month of May with a total of 62 victories.  In addition, the top four affiliates had a stretch of 13 straight wins during the week.  Over-all, the teams in the system were all .500 or better on the week(OKC was 6-0), they combined for a cumulative record of 20 wins and only nine losses.  To top it off, the club added a fresh batch of talent, selecting 41 players in the draft between Monday and Wednesday.
Due to the excellent performances, week #9 of the Farmstros Five has been expanded to make room for all the worthy candidates.
So, here is the Farmstros "Five" for Week #9- Double Your Pleasure:
Paul Clemens, 24, RHP, Oklahoma City. Clemens went seven innings, allowing five hits and one run, while striking out five.
Samil De Los Santos, 18, RHP, DSL Astros.  In the first week of DSL action, De Los Santos allowed just one hit and struck out seven in 5 2/3 scoreless innings.
Michael Foltynewicz, 20, RHP, Lexington. Foltynewicz allowed just one hit and one run, striking out five in his only start of the week.
Rene Garcia, 22 and Ben Heath, 23, C, Lancaster. While splitting the catching duties for the JetHawks, Garcia and Heath combined to go 14 for 30 with two doubles, two home runs and 14 RBI.
Kike Hernandez, 20, IF, Lancaster. Hernandez was 10 for 24 for the JetHawks.  He helped Lancaster's play-off push with three doubles a triple and five RBI.
Mike Hessman, 34, IF, Oklahoma City. Hessman keeps putting the ball over the fence.  He had five round-trippers on the week, going 8 for 19 with a double and seven RBI.
Grant Hogue, 25, OF, Lancaster. Hogue was 13 for 23 with four doubles, a triple and three RBI.
Brett Oberholtzer, 22, LHP, Corpus Christi. Oberholtzer pitched six scoreless innings for the Hooks.  He allowed seven hits and struck out four.
Ben Orloff, 25, IF, Lancaster. Orloff drove in nine runs over the week as the JetHawks' lead-off hitter.  He went 11 for 32.
Jose Valdez, 29, RHP, Oklahoma City. Valdez picked up three more saves for the division-leading RedHawks.  He allowed just one hit and no runs while striking out four in three innings.

Michael Crichton on... Running a Baseball Team?

I just started reading Michael Crichton's final novel, Micro.  He was still writing it when he died in 2008.  In the introduction to the book, Crichton makes the following quote about interacting with/managing the natural world.  With the baseball draft going on in the background, it struck me that Crichton's quote could just as easily apply to buidling/running a baseball organization.

"Human beings interact with complex systems very successfully. (General) managers interact with systems: they do something, watch for a response, and then do something else in an effort to get the result they want.  There is an endless iterative interaction that acknowledges we don't know for sure what the system will do-- we have to wait and see."

The first member of the 2012 Valley Cats is Brady Rodgers

The Astros signed third round draft pick Brady Rodgers Wednesday night, and he will soon be playing in Troy, New York. Rogers, a right-handed pitcher from Arizona St.  will work out for a few weeks in Kissimmee before heading to New York for the New York-Penn League season.  The Valley Cats' opener is June 18 at Vermont.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The JetHawks are in a Play-off Race

With eleven games left in the first half of the season, Lancaster is one game out of first place in the South Division of the California League.  High Desert currently leads the division.  Lake Elsinore is tied with the JetHawks for second place.  As an added bonus in the California League, the winners of the North and South Divsions in the first half of the season receive byes through the first round of the play-offs in September.
Oklahoma City leads their division in the Pacific Coast League by 3 1/2 games entering play today.  However, the PCL decides play-off teams based on the full season rather than using a split-season format, so the RedHawks are a few months away from clinching a spot in the post-season.
Ironically, the last time an Astros' full season affiliate made the play-offs, neither Lancaster nor Oklahoma City was affiliated with the organization.  The 2007 Salem Avalanche(High A), under manager Jim Pankovits, made it to the Championship Series of the Carolina League where they lost to Frederick.  The Avalanche roster in the play-offs included Chris Johnson and Bud Norris. Norris spent most of the 2007 season with Lexington.  However, he was promoted to Salem for one regular season and one post-season start.  Brian Bogusevic made 21 starts for the Avalanche in 2007; however, he had been called up to AA Corpus Christi before the end of the regular season. 
An interesting sidenote, according to Baseball America, the prospect of the year in the Carolina League in 2007 was an outfielder for Atlanta's affiliate in Myrtle Beach.  His name? Jordan Schafer.
While the Avalanche were playing in the Carolina League play-offs in 2007, the Astros Venezuelan Summer League entry was winning that league's championship.  A 17-year old Jose Altuve was the leading hitter on the club.  Altuve was joined on that squad by Dayan Diaz and Carlos Quevedo, both of whom are currently excelling in the Lexington bullpen.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Seven Legends are All-Stars in the SALLY League

According to the South Atlantic League website, seven members of the Lexington Legends have been selected to particpate in the league's 2012 all-star game.  The game is scheduled to be played Tuesday, June 19 at Charleston, South Carolina.  One of the activities scheduled prior to the game itself is a home run derby on an aircraft carrier.

The seven all-stars:

Jason Chowning, RHP(promoted to Lancaster)
Delino DeShields, Jr., 2B
Matt Duffy, 3B
Mike Foltynewicz, RHP
Zach Johnson, DH
Carlos Quevedo, RHP
Nicholas Tropeano, RHP

With Jason Chowning's promotion to Lancaster, I wonder if left-hander Luis Cruz will be selected to take his spot.

Run Expectancy and the 11-run inning

I'm secure enough in my baseball fanhood that I can confidently say that statistics like WAR, run expectancy, and win expectancy aren't a part of my enjoyment of the game.  However, all signs(and scoreboard functions) point to the fact that the jargon of sabermetrics will more and more be heard at Minute Maid Park in the future.  In light of this trend, this post is an experiment to see how RUN EXPECTANCY might affect my following of a game.
Below is a RE-enhanced recap of a recent Lancaster JetHawks inning.  In the top of the fifth inning at Visalia on June 1, the JetHawks sent 12 batters to the plate and scored an unexpected(?) 11 runs.  Please note that I used an RE matrix based on Major League data, so it is not precise for this California League game. However, it serves my purposes.
Top of 5th Inning starts- RE- .491
Grant Hogue singles
Runner on 1st, no out- RE- .840
Ben Orloff sacrifice bunt
Runner on 2nd, one out- RE- .662
George Springer walks
Runners on 1st and 2nd, one out- RE- .877
Balk moves runners to 2nd and 3rd
Runner on 2nd and 3rd, one out- RE- 1.365
Erik Castro singles, two runs score
Runner on 1st, one out- RE- .493- Runs Scored-2
Domingo Santana walks
Runners on 1st and 2nd, one out- RE- .877- Runs Scored-2
Telvin Nash walks
Bases loaded, one out- RE- 1.529- Runs Scored-2
Kike Hernandez doubles. Two runs score.
Runners on 2nd and 3rd, one out- RE- 1.365- Runs scored-4
Alex Todd singles to the catcher
Bases loaded, one out- RE- 1.529- Runs scored-4
Rene Garcia singles, two runs score
Runners on 1st and 2nd, one out- RE- .877- Runs scored-6
Runners move on a passed ball
Runners on 2nd and 3rd, one out- RE- 1.365- Runs scored-6
Grant Hogue singles, one run scores
Runners on 1st and 3rd, one out- RE- 1.113- Runs scored-7
Ben Orloff hits a sacrifice fly.  One runs scores.
Runner on 1st, two outs- RE- .216- Runs scored-8
George Springer singles.
Runners on 1st and 2nd, two outs- RE- .436- Runs scored-8
Erik Castro hits a home run.  Three runs score.
No one on, two outs- RE- .101- Runs scored-11
Domingo Santana strikes out. 
Inning over.  11 runs score.
Three thoughts about the numbers that came up as I keyboarded my way through this inning:
Of course, the strategy worked out for the JetHawks in a big way in this case, but it is interesting to see that a sac bunt usually reduces the chances of scoring by about 17%.

It doesn't hurt to have the other team commit a balk AND a passed ball in the same inning.  According to my matrix, each of those "errors" increased the JetHawks' run expectancy by almost 50%.

Run Expectancy matrix or not, Erik Castro had an awesome inning.  2 for 2 with a home run, two runs scored and five RBI.

Conclusion:  As a math/statistics fan, I could see references to RE being interesting to refer to on occasion while following a baseball game.  However, I'm not sure that it tells you much that a baseball fan wouldn't know already just from watching.   I think I will try this experiment again during a live game situation to gather more data for the decision scientists in the Farmstros' offices.


Monday, June 4, 2012

Correa is the Eighth Player from Puerto Rico Taken by Astros Since 2008

Carlos Correa, the first selection in today's MLB Draft, is the eighth player from Puerto Rico taken by the Astros since Bobby Heck became the club's scouting director.
Two of the seven draftees from Puerto Rico have made it to High A. Enrique Hernandez and Rene Garcia are currently playing in Lancaster.  Hernandez was selected in the sixth round of the 2009 draft. Earlier this season, Hernandez spoke with Farmstros' Spanish Language Specialist about getting ready for the season at Lancaster.
9th- Luis Cruz, LHP, Santa Monica HS, San Juan
35th- Rene Garica, C, Colegio Sagrada Familia HS, Corozal

6th- Kike Hernandez, IF, American Military Academy HS, Toa Baja
16th- Ronald Sanchez, 1B, Manuela Toro Morice HS, Caguas
37th- Raul Rivera, RHP, Paul HS, Santurce

7th- Roberto Pena, C, Eloisa Pascual, Caguas
49th- Kenny Diaz, C, Colegio Angel David, Toa Alta

Farmstros Call of the Week #9

Talk about a hit with some impact! Not only did Brett Wallace's Grand Slam on Saturday night tie the RedHawks' game with Iowa at 8. Apparently, the blast impressed the Astros front office so much that they called him up to Minute Maid Park, where he was in the starting line-up Sunday afternoon.

Thanks to Alex Freedman for sharing his call of the play.

Cinco de Farmstros- Ellos No estan aqui

There were a few players from the 2011 DSL Astros roster absent from the club's 2012 roster when play began in the Dominican Republic over the weekend.  This special edition Cinco de Farmstros takes a look at five peloteros whose absence from the DSL Astros means it is likely that they will be playing stateside for the first time this season. 
Reymin Guduan, 20, LHP.  (1st Professional Season-2010)- Guduan made 13 starts for the DSL Astros in 2011.  He had a 2.17 ERA with 61 strikeouts in 46 IP.
Teoscar Hernandez, 19, OF.  (2011)- Hernandez led the DSL Astros with seven home runs in 2011.  He batted .274 with 27 extra-base hits and a .487 slugging percentage in 65 games. Hernandez also had 16 stolen bases.
Franny Polanco, 20, C. (2010)- Polanco batted .292 with 25 RBI in 58 games.  He led the DSL Astros with 35 games played at catcher.
Juan Santana, 17, IF. (2011)- Santana was 68 for 248(.274) in 2011.  He had 11 doubles and 28 RBI with a team-leading 44 runs.
Jose Solano, 20, IF. (2010)-  Solano led the 2011 team with 21 stolen bases.  He batted .282 in 65 games with seven doubles and 21 RBI.
NOTE:  There is a possibility that a player's absence from the DSL roster is simply a matter of catching up on roster moves at the beginning of the season.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Lyles May not be Heading Back to OKC for a While This Time

Jordan Lyles is making his fifth start of the season for the Astros Sunday afternoon.  For the first two months of the season, the Astros' schedule has allowed them to occasionally avoid using a fifth starter.  In 53 games, Kyle Weiland, Lyles, and Aneury Rodriguez have combined to make only eight starts in 11 turns through the rotation.  The schedule has allowed the club some flexibility, as they have not been forced to replace the injured Kyle Weiland permanently in the rotation, meaning pitchers like Lyles and Aneury Rodriguez have found themselves back on a plane for AAA after a short(one or two start) major league stint.

However, over the next five weeks, including today's contest, the Astros are scheduled to play 33 games.  Barring rainouts, a fifth starter will be needed seven times, every time through the rotation.  Between now and the All-Star break, the Astros need more than a spot starter to fill the #5 spot in their starting rotation.  With his start today, Lyles is first in line to try to fill that role.

Coming Soon? How Many RODRIGUEZes dot Com?

Saturday night in the Astros' organization reminded me of something my Great Uncle Abner has told me about baseball:  "Mike, in baseball you can count on this, if you send enough Rodriguezes to the mound, one of them will get the job done eventually." 
Between Minute Maid Park, Oklahoma City, and Lexington, all four of the Rodriguezes in the Houston system pitched last night, and just like my Great Uncle Abner said, one of them got the job done.
Richard Rodriguez made his first appearance in full season baseball last night, starting for the Legends.  He went three innings for Lexington, allowing three hits and one run, striking out four.  After completing a 50-game suspension last season, Richard pitched for the Gulf Coast League Astros.
As for the other Rodriguezes in the system, Wandy(Astros), Fernando(Astros), and Aneury(RedHawks) weren't as effective as the newest Rodriguez on the scene.  W-Rod, F-Rod, and A-Rod combined to allow 19 hits and 13 earned runs in eight innings pitched.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Farmstros May Player of the Month

Who is the Farmstros May Player of the Month?

Here are the candidates for the Farmstros May Player of the Month:

Matt Duffy, 23, IF, Lexington. Duffy was 37 for 108 in May.  He had 11 doubles, four home runs, 14 RBI, a .343 batting average and a .556 slugging percentage.

Fernando Martinez, 23, OF, Oklahoma City. Fernando batted .337 for the month.  He had eight doubles, one triple, four home runs and 17 RBI in 95 at bats.

Jose Martinez, 26, IF, Corpus Christi. Jose was 38 for 111(.342).  He had eight doubles, two triples, three home runs and 17 RBI for the Hooks.

Jimmy Paredes, 23, 2B, Oklahoma City.  Paredes stole 11 bases for the RedHawks.  He also batted .321(34 for 106) with five doubles, two triples, two home runs and 12 RBI.

Jon Singleton, 20, 1B/OF, Corpus Christi.  Singleton had seven home runs for the Hooks on the month.  He also had a .531 slugging percentage with 24 RBI in 96 at bats.

George Springer, 22, OF, Lancaster. Springer went 36 for 111 in May.  He had three doubles, three triples, eight home runs, 21 RBI, seven stolen bases and 26 runs scored.

Jonathan Villar, 21, SS, Corpus Christi. The Hooks' shortstop had 11 stolen bases and 17 runs scored for the month.  He was 30 for 104 with four extra-base hits and 13 RBI.

Brett Wallace, 25, IF, Oklahoma City. Wallace showed some power in May with seven AAA home runs.  He also had six doubles, 21 RBI and a .538 slugging percentage in 104 at bats.

Farmstros May Pitcher of the Month

Who is the Farmstros May Pitcher of the Month?

Here are the candidates for the Farmstros May Pitcher of the Month:

Jason Chowning, 24, RHP, Lexington.  Chowning posted a 1.69 ERA in nine appearances on the month.  He allowed five hits and struck out 22 in 12 2/3 IP.

Luis Cruz, 21, LHP, Lexington. Cruz made six starts for the Legends in May and posted a 1.85 ERA.  He allowed 35 hits and struck out 33 in 39 IP.

Bobby Doran, 23, RHP, Lancaster. Doran posted a 3.66 ERA in five starts for the JetHawks.  He pitched 32 innings.

Mike Foltynewicz, 20, RHP, Lexington. Foltynewicz struck out 31 batters in 36 IP over six starts.  He allowed 33 hits and posted a 2.50 ERA.

Carlos Quevedo, 22, RHP, Lexington. Quevedo came out of the Legends' bullpen nine times in May and picked up four victories.  in 19 1/3 IP he allowed 14 hits, walked only two and struck out 19 while posting a 1.40 ERA.

Ross Seaton, 22, RHP, Corpus Christi. Seaton made six starts for the Hooks.  He pitched a total of 36 2/3 innings.   He allowed 37 hits and 10 walks, striking out 16 and posting a 2.70 ERA.

Jason Stoffel, 23, RHP, Corpus Christi. Stoffel made 12 relief appearances in May. He recorded four saves and posted a 1.29 ERA.  He allowed 11 hits and struck out 10.

Jose Valdez, 28, RHP, Oklahoma City. Valdez picked up seven saves for the RedHawks in the month.  He made 13 appearances and allowed eight hits in 12 1/3 innings while posting a 2.19 ERA.

DSL Astros Get Started with at Least 11 New Guys

If the weather in the Dominican Republic is cooperating, the Astros' DSL entry is playing their first game of the season.
According to, 11 new players were added to the DSL Astros roster on the eve of the opener:
Harold Arauz, RHP
Randy Cesar, 3B
Rayderson Chevalier, RHP
Jean Carlos Cortorreal, 2B
Elieser Hernandez, LHP
Juan Hernandez, RHP
Arturo Michelina, SS
Jarico Reynoso, OF
Luis Reynoso, SS
Edward Santana, OF
Edwin Villaroel, LHP