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Monday, June 30, 2008

All the Missing are Accounted For

Thanks to Baseball America, I've been able to track down all those players from the 2007 Astros system, who I had classified as missing.

Several players were named as released in a recent posting that I missed:

Danny Gil, RHP(30th round, 2007 Draft)
Mason Roberts, RHP(17th Round, 2007 Draft)
Alberto Cruz, 3B(27th Round, 2006 Draft)
Charlie Gamble, 3B(23rd Round, 2007 Draft)
Philip Stringer, SS(24th Round, 2007 Draft)
Axel Gonzalez, OF(41st Round, 2006 Draft)
Cody Phipps, OF(33rd Round, 2007 Draft)

Also, Rafeal Parks, OF(29th Round, 2006 Draft)... for some reason, I had Parks listed as released previously, but now he is truly gone.

This left one player on my list, Cardoza Tucker, RHP. I still had him on my list. He must have slipped through my radar, because he spent this spring in the Cardinals system, pitching for Low A Quad Cities and High A Palm Beach before being released last week.

A little roster trivia: With all these releases finalized, the Astros total organization roster count stands at 270 players. This ranges from Houston to the Caribbean summer league teams. It includes all injured, suspended and inactive players. However, it does not include 2008 draft picks who have not signed as of yet.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Polin Trinidad to Pitch in Futures' Game

Left-hander Polin Trinidad will represent the Astros organization and the international in this summer's edition of the Futures' Game. Trinidad will take part in the game on July 13 at Yankee Stadium. The 23 year-old from the Dominican Republic made 1o starts for Salem to open the season. He posted a 2.32 ERA in 62 innings before being called up to Corpus Christi. He has made five starts for the Hooks with a 2.93 ERA in 27 2/3 IP.

Ball Back with Astros Organization

Katy, Texas native and Tomball High School product Jarred Ball is back with the Astros organization. The 25 year old outfielder has been signed to replace Mitch Einertson, who is on the Corpus Christi Disabled List. Ball spent a good portion of this year's spring training in Houston's camp before being released. He spent six years in the Diamondback system. He was with Mobile and Tucson in 2007. Ball was playing for Lancaster of the Atlantic League when the Astros acquired him.

Hooks contribute to All-Star victory

Six Hooks participated and contributed in the Texas League All-Star Game Wednesday night in Springfield, Missouri. Drew Sutton and Chris Johnson both had two hits, one double each. Richie Paz and Tommy Manzella(down from Round Rock for the game), each had a single. Chris Blazek and Ryan McKeller each pitched a scoreless inning. Billy Hart and Brad James were named to the All-Star team but didn't play due to injury.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Golden Gators of 1983

I recently was speaking to my mother about the state of the Astros, and how focusing on their minor league system, specifically through this blog, is probably beneficial for my mental health. My Astros' fandom runs deep, and I've probably already trimmed a few years off of my life by worrying about their failures.
While discussing my "sickness" and how I am dealing with it, my mom brought up the 1983 Beaumont Golden Gators. Apparently, during the 1983 season, the Astros were stinking up the joint so much, that I had a tantrum(I'd rather not reveal my age at that time), and spun my radio dial so that it moved from 740 AM(the Astros station in Houston) to 560 AM(the home of Beaumont Golden Gators baseball). As it happened, I became a big Gator fan that season, listening to the dulcet tones of, I think, Dave Hoferth(sp?). It was a magical trip for the Gators at Vincent Beck Stadium on the Lamar University campus. Led by manager Jack Maloof as well as two youngsters named John Kruk and Ozzie Guillen, the Golden Gators claimed the Texas League Championship that year, the team's first in the Golden Triangle. My parents and I actually made the trip over to Beaumont to take in a Golden Gator game at least once before they left town after the 1986 season. Of course, the Astros were back to their winning ways, so I was able to deal with not have the Golden Gators to follow.

Farmstros Five- Week 12

Even with six farm teams, the Astros couldn't field a minor league team with a winning record during the week of June 18-24. Tri-City came the closest going 3-4(3-5 for the season); Round Rock was 2-5(34-45); Corpus Christi was 1-5(1-5, second half); Salem was 2-3(2-4); Lexington was 1-5(1-5); Greeneville was 2-5(3-5)
As of last week, the Astros farm system had the worst cumulative record of all 30 systems.

Now the Farmstros Five for the week:

Doug Arguello, LHP, Salem. Arguello went eight shutout innings allowing four hits in his only start of the week.
The Tri-City Trio...Shane Wolf, LHP; David Miller, RHP; Ashton Mowdy, RHP. The three pitchers combined to throw the first no-hitter in Tri-City history. For the week they combined to throw 16 innings allowing just one earned run and earning all three of the Valley Cats victories.
Phil Disher, IF, Tri-City. Disher went 9 for 25 with four doubles, three home runs, and 11 RBI in his first full week as a professional.
Brian Pellegrini, OF, Lexington. Pellegrini was 8 for 24 with one double, one triple, three home runs and seven RBI.
Chad Reineke, RHP, Round Rock. Reineke made two starts pitching 12 innings and allowing only two earned runs.

A note, the fifth spot would have been taken by David Newhan, IF, Round Rock. Newhan went 8 for 16 with three home runs and four RBI. It would have been his second straight week on the Farmstros Five. However, he was called up to Houston before the end of the week making him ineligible.

Transactions 6/18-24

David Newhan, IF, left the ranks of the Farmstos being called up to Houston to replace the injured Kazuo Matsui. It is Newhan's second visit to Houston this season.

Other moves for the week:
Jack Cassel, RHP is on the Round Rock disabled list with a back ailment.
Kyle Middelton, RHP makes his second visit to Round Rock up from Corpus Christi.
Corpus Christi signed Val Majeski, OF. Majeski a left-hand hitter spent his first six years in the Baltimore system topping out at AAA. He was playing for Newark of the Atlantic League when the Astros signed him.
As best I can tell, James Van Ostrand, 1B/OF will stay at Salem after moving down from Corpus Christi to play in the High A All-Star Game Tuesday night.
Jhonny Medrano, IF, is on the Greeneville Disabled List.

Three players who I recently reported missing have shown up:

Carlos Lazu, LHP, is on the team's restricted list. Lazu was suspended at the end of last season for performance enhancing drug use.
Agustin Pinales, RHP, is on the disabled list.
Andrea Lucati, RHP, is on the inactive list. Lucati was signed out of Italy during the off-season.

Salem All-Stars

Two Salem Avalanche played in last night's Carolina/California All-Star Game. James Van Ostrand, just down from Corpus Christi played the whole game in Left Field and went 0 for 3 at the plate. Koby Clemens was 1 for 2.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Scoop on James

According to Matt Hicks the Hooks announcer, James is dealing with some back issues and is in Houston to be examined today. He will miss the all-star game on Wednesday.

Brad James misses Start

Hooks' right-hander Brad James is not pitching today in a late-morning game despite being listed as the probably starter on the team's website. This is merely speculation that I am trying to follow-up on: I wonder if James, who is on the 40 man roster is about to come up to Round Rock. Round Rock starter Jack Cassel hasn't pitched in two weeks with some type of injury and Runelyvs Hernandez is headed to Houston, so AAA will need another starter. Dave Borkowski made a start last night.

Three pitchers are the charm for Tri-City

Three pitchers teamed up Saturday night to pitch the first no-hitter in Tri-City Valley Cats' history. Shane Wolf, a 2008 draft pick out of Ithaca College, pitched three hitless innings in his first professional appearance. David Miller, a 2007 draft pick, pitched four hitless and got the victory. Ashton Mowdy, a 2008 draft pick out of East Oklahoma State(JUCO), closed out the 10-0 at Oneonta(a Tiger's farm team) with two hitless innings.

Two All-Star Games this Week

Ten Farmstros will be in minor league all-star games this week.

Two Salem Avalanche will be in Tuesday's Carolina vs. California League All-Star Game. Koby Clemens and James Van Ostrand will be in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for the contest.

On Wednesday, eight Hooks are slated to represent Corpus Christi in the Texas League All-Star Game. Tommy Manzella, SS and Drew Sutton, 2B are schedule to start in the contest. Also, Chris Johnson, Billy Hart, Brad James, Ryan McKeller, Chris Blazek, and Richie Paz are expected in Springfield, Missouri.

Note: Tommy Manzella will be starting even though he has been called up to AAA Round Rock. Also, Billy Hart is currently disabled.

Van Ostrand back to Salem

After a short stay James Van Ostrand is heading back to Salem from Corpus Christ. The 1B/OF was only 4 for 25 in nine games with the Hooks. Van Ostrand will be back with Salem in time to represent them in Tuesday's Carolina/California All-Star Game in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Castro's College Season Ended

Astros number 1 pick catcher Jason Castro saw his college season ended over the weekend with Stanford's loss to Georgia. The left-handed hitter acquitted himself well in four College World Series contests. He had six hits in 18 at-bats with one double, one home run and four RBI.

Short Season Roster Limit Update

I previously listed an incorrect number for the New York-Penn League roster limit. The Tri-City Valley Cats roster limit is 30 players. Their current count is 29. Greeneville does have a roster limit of 35, with a current count of 33.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Farmstros Five- Week 11

This was a busy week in the minors with three leagues ended their first half and the two short-season leagues kicking off. Round Rock ended up the week at 4 and 3 improving to 32 and 40 over-all. Corpus Christi went 2-5(they ended their first half 30-40); Salem 2-4(they ended their first half 30-40 and lost the first game of the second half); Lexington went 1-4(they ended their first half 21-48); Also, Tri-City(loss) and Greeneville(win) played the first game of the season.

The Farmstros Five for the week of June 11-17:

Mark Ori, 1B, Salem. Ori went 10 for 25 with two doubles, one triple and eight RBI
Rob Cosby, 1B, Corpus Christi. Cosby was 10 for 30 with one double, one triple, two HRs and eight RBI.
J.R. House, C/1B, Round Rock. House was 13 for 29 with one double, one home run and eight RBI.
Runelvys Hernandez, RHP, Round Rock. Hernandez continued his strong AAA showing with seven innings and one run allowed with six Ks in his start.
David Newhan, IF, Round Rock. Newhan was 10 for 24 with three doubles, two home runs and six RBI.

Josh Paul Released, Five signed

In the last week, Josh Paul, catcher, was released from Round Rock.

Five more draftees have been signed bringing the total number of signees to 27 at best count.

4th Round- Thomas Steele, OF, Arizona(Tri-City)
6th Round- Jack Shuck, OF, Ohio St.(Tri-City)
7th Round- Jonathon Gaston, OF, Arizona(Tri-City)
27th Round- Nathaniel Pettus, RHP, W. Oklahoma St. College(Greeneville)
28th Round- Zachary Grimmett, RHP, HS(Oklahoma)

An all-star and a high draft pick

A current farmstro and a future one have been in the baseball spotlight recently.
Lexington second baseman Matt Cusick was the only Astro representative in last night's South Atlantic All-Star Game. He started for the North squad and went 2 for 5 with two runs and an RBI.
Meanwhile, Astros top draft pick Jason Castro is having his entry to the organization delayed by the College World Series. The catcher's Stanford has won one game and lost one game. They play tonight against Miami. Castro has gone three for eight with one double, one home run and three RBI. Castro's stay in Omaha could last until June 25 at the latest.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Eleven who Disappeared

Now that the short season rosters have been posted, there are eleven players who were on an Astros' rosters at the end of 2007 no longer on a roster, I am assuming the following eleven have been released:

Pitchers
Danny Gil(2007 Draft, Tri-City in 2007)
Carlos Lazu(Greeneville in 2007)
Andrew Lucati(Signed out of Italy last off-season)
Agustin Pinales(Greeneville in 2007)
Mason Roberts(2007 Draft, Greeneville in 2007)
Cardoza Tucker(Tri-City in 2007)

Infielders
Alberto Cruz(2006 Draft, Tri-City in 2007)
Charles Gamble(2007 Draft, Tri-City in 2007)
Philip Stringer(2007 Draft, Greeneville/Tri-City in 2007)

Outfielders
Axel Gonzalez(2006 Draft, Greeneville/Tri-City in 2007)
Cody Phipps(2007 Draft, Greeneville in 2007)

Tri-City Valley Cats Roster

The Tri-City Valley Cats also start their New York-Penn League schedule tomorrow at the Lowell Spinners. The short season A team's home opener is Friday vs. Oneonta at Joe Bruno Stadium in Troy, New York.

The roster stands at 29 currently. With a limit of 35, draft picks, such as 1st rounder Jason Castro may be added as they sign.

Pitchers
Robert Bono, RHP, 19(2007 Draft, Greeneville in 2007)
Eduin Ciriaco, LHP, 22(Greeneville in 2007)
David Duncan, LHP, 22(2008 Draft, 5th Round out of Georgia Tech)
Jose Duran, RHP, 23(Greeneville in 2007)
Kyle Godfrey, RHP, 22(2008 Draft, 13th Round out Hiwassee JUCO)
Michael Hacker, LHP, 22(2008 Draft, 25th Round out of Cosumnes River College)
Jarred Holloway, LHP, 19(2008 Draft, 10th Round out of St. Petersburg JUCO)
Chase Lehr, RHP, 20(2008 Draft, 49th Round out Glendale CC)
David Miller, RHP, 22(2007 Draft, Tri-City in 2007)
Ashton Mowdy, RHP, 21(2008 Draft, 19th Round out of E. Okla. St. JUCO)
Antonio Noguera, LHP, 20(Greeneville in 2007)
Kirkland Rivers, LHP, 22(2008 Draft, 37th Round out of Texas A&M)
Philip Rummel, RHP, 22(2008 Draft, 31st Round out of Kutztown University)
Shane Wolf, LHP, 21(2008 Draft, 26th Round out of Ithaca College)

Catchers
Julian Henson, 21(AZL Mariners, Everett, and Wisconsin in 2007
Reinaldo Pestana, 21(Tri-City in 2007)

Infielders
Michael Diaz, 21(2008 Draft, 30th Round out of S. Connecticut State)
Philip Disher, 23(2008 Draft, 15th Round out of South Carolina)
David Flores, 21(2008 Draft, 18th Round out of Cal. State-Sacramento)
Jeff Hulett, 20(2008 Draft, 12th Round out of Okaloosa Walton CC)
Chris Jackson, 21(2008 Draft, 29th Round out of Virginia Commonwealth)
Ebert Rosario, 21(Greeneville in 2007)
Andrew Simunic, 21(2008 Draft, 17th Round out of Tennessee)

Outfielders
Jonathan Gaston, 21(2008 Draft, 7th Round out of Arizona)
Daniel Meier, 22(2008 Draft, 24th Round out of University of Portland)
Jacob Priday, 22(2008 Draft, 11th Round out of Missouri)
Jack Shuck, 20(2008 Draft, 6th Round out of Ohio St.)
Thomas Steele, 21(2008 Draft, 4th Round out of Arizona)
Marques Williams, 22(Greeneville in 2007)

Greeneville Astros Roster

The Greeneville Astros start their Appalachian League season tomorrow. Following is the current roster for the team. Note that some draftees may be added to the roster as the weeks go by. The current roster is 32, and if I remember correctly, the league limit is 35.

The club plays tomorrow at Kingsport. The team's home opener is Friday, June 20 vs. Danville at Pioneer Park at Greeneville, TN.

Pitchers
Wander Alvino, RHP, 21(Alvino is from the D.R. but doesn't have a record of playing for the Astros' summer team there
Jeiler Castillo, RHP, 20(Venezuelan Astros in 2007)
Luis Cruz, LHP, 17(2008 Draft, 9th Round out of High School in Puerto Rico)
David Dinelli, RHP, 21(2007 Draft, Tri-City/Greeneville in 2007)
Kyle Greenwalt, RHP, 19(2007 Draft, Greeneville in 2007)
Zachary Grimmettt, RHP, 19(2008 Draft, 28th Round out of High School in Oklahoma)
Arcenio Leon, RHP, 21(Greeneville in 2007)
Jordan Lyles, RHP, 17(2008 Draft, 1st Round supplemental out of High School in South Carolina)
Nathan Pettus, RHP, 19(2008 Draft, 27th Round out of JUCO in Oklahoma)
Colton Pitkin, LHP, 18(2007 Draft, Greeneville in 2007)
Joel Romero, RHP, 19(Dominican Astros in 2007)
Jose Trinidad, RHP, 20(Dominican Astros in 2007)
Henry Villar, RHP, 21(Dominican Astros in 2007)
Brian Wabick, RHP, 20(2007 Draft, Greeneville in 2007)

Catchers
Rene Garcia, 18(2008 Draft, 35th Round out of High School in Puerto Rico
Pedro Gonzalez, 21(Greeneville in 2007)
Frederico Hernandez, 20(Venezuelan Astros in 2007)
Carlos Mojica, 20(Dominican Astros in 2007)

Infielders
Jose Altuve, 18(Venezuelan Astros in 2007)
Ricardo Bonfante, 19(Venezuelan Astros in 2007)
Albert Cartwright, 20(2007 Draft, Greeneville in 2007)
Jorge DeLeon, 20(Dominican Astros in 2007)
Kody Hinze, 20(Undrafted Free agent... Hinze went to Nimitz in Aldine(Houston). He played for Angelina JUCO in 2006 and 2007. He is that school's career leader in home runs and RBIs. I read he signed to play with Prairie View in 2008, but he doesn't show as being on that roster.
Jhonny Medrano, 20(Venezuelan Astros in 2007)
Kyle Miller, 21(2007 Draft, Greeneville in 2007)
Dionel Montas, 23(Monstas is from D.R., however, he doesn't have a record of being part of the Astros' summer team there.

Outfielders
Frank Almonte, 19(Dominican Astros in 2007)
Jay Austin, 17(2008 Draft, 2nd Round out of High School in Georgia
Wilton Infante, 20(Dominican Astros in 2007)
Nathan Metroka, 21(2008 Round, 47th Round out of JUCO in California
Renzo Tello, 20(Venezuelan Astros in 2007)
Devon Torrence, 19(2007 Draft, Greeneville in 2007)
Chris Turner, 19(2007 Draft, Greeneville in 2007)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Dutch Shortstop in Venezuela; Outfielders promoted

Jan Baldee, a 17 year old shortstop the Astros signed during the off-season has now shown up on the roster for the Venezuelan Summer League Astros. As best I can tell, he was in extended spring training and then was moved to Venezuela.

A few more transactions. Billy Hart, OF for Corpus has a groin injury that is going to sideline him for a while. James Van Ostrand has been promoted from Salem to take his spot. Collin DeLome will move from Lexington to Salem to take Van Ostrand's place.

Farmstros Five- Week 10

From an individual performance perspective, week 10 of the season, was the weakest one of the season for the Astros farm system. Farmstros pondered giving the award to a few of the draftees for their performances in the super regionals this past week. However, we didn't want to jeopardize Jason Castro remaining eligibility with Stanford, so we stuck with the professionals.

Round Rock with three wins and three losses had the best record of the farm system. The Express is 28-37 for the season. Corpus Christi was 2-5(28-35); Salem was 2-5(28-37); Lexington was 1-6(20-44). Salem and Lexington wrap up the first half of their season Sunday, June 15. Corpus' first half wraps up June 18.

Now the Farmstros Five for the week of June 4-10, 2008

Chris Johnson, 3B, Corpus Christi. Johnson went 11 for 27 with two doubles, three home runs and eight RBI(.407 BA, .815 Slugg.)
Jack Cassel, RHP, Round Rock. Cassel pitched seven innings and allowed one earned run in his start.
Collin DeLome, OF, Lexington. DeLome was 10 for 26 with two doubles, one triple, one home run and two RBI(.385 BA, .654 Slugg.)
Jordan Powell, RHP, Lexington. Powell made two appearances in relief pitching eight innings, picking up a win and allowing just one earned run.
Craig Corrado, 3B, Lexington. Corrado went 11 for 31, scored six runs and had a double and a home run(.355 BA)

Transactions 6/4-10

In addition to the draft, the Astros made several moves this past week.

A brief rundown:
Moving Up
Humberto Quintero, C, Round Rock to Houston
Reggie Abercrombie, OF, Round Rock to Houston
Tommy Manzella, SS, Corpus Christi to Round Rock
Brandon Barnes, OF, Extended Spring Training to Lexington

New Player
Ron Chiavacci, P, from Phillies to Round Rock(Stephen Randolph trade)

Activated
Richard Paz, IF, Corpus Christi

Sent Down
J.R. Towles, C, Houston to Round Rock
Kyle Middleton, P, Round Rock to Corpus Christi

Released
Jose Cruz, Jr., OF, Houston
Ryan Thompson, P, Corpus Christi
Joe Melton, C, Lexington

In addition to these moves, the club signed the following 22 draft picks, who should be showing up in short season box scores next week:

Supplemental 1st round- Jordan Lyles, RHP, High School(South Carolina)- Greeneville
2nd Round- Jay Austin, OF, High School(Georgia)
5th Round- David Duncan, LHP, Georgia Tech
9th Round- Luis Cruz, LHP, High School(Puerto Rico)
10th Round- Jarred Holloway, LHP, JUCO(St. Petersburg)
11th Round- Jacob Priday, OF, Missouri
12th Round- Jeff Hulett, SS, JUCO(Okaloosa)
13th Round- Kyle Godfrey, RHP, JUCO(Hiwassee)
15th Round- Phil Disher, 1B, South Carolina
17th Round- Andrew Simunic, 2B, Tennessee
18th Round- David Flores, 3B, Cal. St.-Sacramento
19th Round- Ashton Mowday, RHP, JUCO(E. Okla. State)
24th Round- Danny Meier, OF, University of Portland
25th Round- Michael Hacker, LHP, JUCO(Cosumnes River)
26th Round- Shane Wolf, LHP, Ithaca College
29th Round- Chris Jackson, SS, Virginia Commonwealth
30th Round- Michael Diaz, 2B, Southern Connecticut State
31st Round- Philip Rummel, RHP, Kutztown Univ.
35th Round- Rene Garcia, C, High School(Puerto Rico)
37th Round- Kirkland Rivers, LHP, Texas A&M
47th Round- Nathan Metroka, OF, JUCO(Compton)
49th Round- Chase Lehr, RHP, JUCO(Glendale)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Extended Spring Training Wraps Up

The Astros concluded their extended spring training in Florida and players will soon be in Tri-City and Greeneville for the short season which begins June 17. With the end of extended spring training, Felipe Paulino will be heading to Houston to continue his rehab. One source indicates that Paul Estrada, pitcher, will be heading to one of the short season clubs to continue recovering from his shoulder problems.

Draft Breakdown by Position

Of 52 draft picks,

there were
13 left-handed pitchers
12 right-handed pitchers
7 catchers
12 outfielders
1 first baseman
3 second basemen
3 shortstops
and 1 third baseman

Clemens and Van Ostrand are All-Stars

The Salem Avalanche have two all-stars on their team: First Baseman James Van Ostrand, the Canadian Olympian who homered in last year's Futures' Game, and catcher Koby Clemens, who hasn't let the difficulty of transitioning to catcher this season effect his hitting.
The players will be part of the Carolina League team when they take on the High A California League squad June 24 at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Blazek an All-Star

Hooks Left-hander Chris Blazek was added to the Texas League all-star team. He replaces former Hook/Express Brian Gordon who was just called up from Frisco to Oklahoma in the Rangers system.

2008 Draft in the Books

The Astros have started signing their draft picks(12 of 52 so far) and most of the players will get started as professionals next week in Tri-City and Greeneville. A quick look at the 52 picks and where they came from:

High School Seniors: 19
Junior College: 13
College Juniors: 10
College Seniors: 10

Castro on to Omaha

Astros first pick Jason Castro will have a stop in Omaha before joining the Astros minor league system. The left-handed hitting catcher helped lead Stanford past Cal. State-Fullerton in the supe-regionals earning a berth in the NCAA College World Series. In the two game sweep, Castro was 5 for 8 with a home run and six RBI.

Three other picks played in the super-regionals:

Jonathan Gaston and Thomas Steele were in the outfield for Arizona in their 2 games to one loss to Miami. Gaston was 4 for 13 with 2 home runs and 6 RBI, including a game-winning three-run blast in game 1. Steele was 4 for 12 with 1 home run and 3 RBI.

Kirkland Rivers pitched two scoreless innings for Texas A&M while they were swept by Rice.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Astros Draftees in Super Regionals

The draft wrapped up today. Of the 52 players the Astros selected, four will be playing this weekend in the NCAA super-regionals. Keep an eye out for:

Jason Castro, C #10 pick, Stanford. The Cardinal take on CS- Fullerton in a Friday-Sunday series.

Thomas Steele, OF #122 and Jonathon Gaston, OF #212, Arizona. The Wildcats are playing Miami in another Friday-Sunday series.

Kirkland Rivers, P #1112, Texas A&M. The Aggies are in Houston to take on Rice Saturday through Monday.

Another note on Jason Castro: I read an article indicating that once Stanford wraps up their season, he may start as high as Salem and at least Lexington.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Now Catching for your Tri-City Valley Cats...

It looks like Jason Castro will be catching for Tri-City in a few weeks. The Junior from Stanford was the Astros first pick in today's draft. They took him with the 10th over-all selection. Castro is batting .372 with 12 home runs and 63 RBI for the Cardinal. He will be playing this weekend in the NCAA super regional against Cal State-Fullerton. Houston completed day one's six rounds with a total of eight new players.

Pick #38- Jordan Lyles, RHP out of Hartsville, SC. Lyles was committed to South Carolina to play football and baseball, but reports are that he has already signed with the Astros and will play in Greeneville.

Pick #56- Jay Austin, OF out of North Atlanta, GA.
Pick #88- Charles Davidson, OF out of Milton, GA
Pick #109- Ross Seaton, RHP out Second Baptist High School(Houston)
Pick #122- Thomas Steele, OF out of the University of Arizona
Pick #152- David Duncan, LHP out of Georgia Tech
Pick #182- Jack Shuck, OF out of Ohio St. Shuck was also one of the Buckeye starting pitchers.

The draft continues through tomorrow.

Six Hooks are All-Stars, two are starters

The middle infield for the South Division of the Texas League all-star game will be full of Hooks. Tommy Manzella and Drew Sutton will be starting in the June 25 game at Springfield, Missouri. Four more Hooks have been named to the roster for the game: IF Chris Johnson, OF Billy Hart, P Brad James, and P Ryan McKeller.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Farmstros Five-Week Nine

For the first time in a while, more than one Astros' farm team was over .500 in a week. For the week of May 28 to June 3, Round Rock went 5 and 3 improving to 25-34 on the season. Lexington went 4 and 2(19-38); Salem was 4-5(26-32); Corpus Christi was 1-5(26-30). Salem's record includes the completion of a suspended game from early May.

The Farmstros Five:

Runelvys Hernandez, RHP, Round Rock. Hernandez won his fourth straight decision with a nine-inning complete game. He allowed on one run in the outing.
Doug Arguello, LHP, Salem. Arguello pitched a seven inning complete game shutout. He allowed only two hits in the outing.
Jhon Florentino, IF, Salem. Florentino went 18 for 32 on the week. He had two doubles, one triple, one home run, and seven RBI. (.563 batting, .781 slugging).
Mark Saccomanno, IF, Round Rock. Saccomanno was 11 for 28(.393, .929 slugging). He had three doubles, four home runs, and seven RBI for the week.
James Van Ostrand, 1B, Salem. The Canadian Olympian was 11 for 25 with one double, two home runs, and eight RBI(.440, . 730 slugging).

Astros Drafts in Review- 2007

Tomorrow the draft begins at 1 p.m. central time.
Farmstros will make every effort to post Thursday night with a little information about whatever picks the Astros have made by 8 p.m. central time.
ESPN2 is scheduled to cover the first round and the supplemental round(A total of 46 picks). The 50-round draft runs through Friday. As Ed Wade and the Astros make final preparations to select the class of 2008, it's time for a final look at drafts of the past:

2007 Draftees

at Salem
Travis Sweet, OF
Kevin Carkeek, C
Jason Dominguez, RHP

at Lexington
Collin DeLome, OF
Russell Dixon, OF
Matthew Cusick, 2B(South Atlantic League All-Star)
Craig Corrado, 3B
Jonathan Fixler, C
Brett Robinson, RHP
Jacob Leonhardt, RHP
Jordan Powell, RHP
Cat Everett, SS
Luis Pardo, RHP

Several draft picks from last season and 2006 are still in Florida preparing for short season baseball. I'll note them when the short season rosters are posted.

A Closer Look at Three New Veterans

Yesterday three new pitchers were mentioned in the transactions recap. Here's more on those three:

Ray King, LHP, 34. The situational lefty has played in parts of 10 major league seasons. He has been with the Cubs, Brewers, Braves, Cardinals, Rockies, Nationals, and Brewers(again). He was with the Cardinals both times they met the Astros in the NLCS. At this point, King has become the definitive journeyman. The Astros are his organization this season, after the Nationals and the White Sox(Charlotte, AAA).

Jorge Sosa, RHP, 31. Sosa has spent parts of seven seasons in the bigs with Tampa Bay, Atlanta, St. Louis, and the Mets. He had a 7.06 ERA early this season in New York.

Ron Chiavacci, RHP, 30. Chiavacci has never been above AAA. He has been with four organizations: Montreal, Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Philadelphia. Before struggling this season with Lehigh Valley, Chiavacci had a solid season last year with Toledo(Detroit,AAA) 12-6 with a 3.39 ERA in 151 1/3 IP.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Transactions Aplenty

The past week has included numerous moves up and down the Astros chain.
A brief summary:

Luis Pardo, RHP was called up to Lexington from Extended Spring Training.

Alay Soler, RHP, from Cuba who was signed just a few weeks ago, was released from Extended Spring Training.
David Qualben, LHP and pick-off artist was called back up to Salem.

There are conflicting reports, but it seems that RHP Chance Douglass is heading back to Corpus Christi from Round Rock.

Veterans RHP Jorge Sosa and LHP Ray King were signed and added to the Round Rock roster.

Jack Cassel, RHP and Dave Borkowski,RHP(outrighted) have been added to the Round Rock roster as well.
Ron Chiavacci, RHP has come to the Astros organization. He is the player to be named later in the Stephen Randolph trade of a few weeks ago. No word on where he will end up, but he was with the Phillies triple A team, Lehigh Valley.

Finally, Jared Gothreaux, RHP and Carlos Hines, RHP were released from Round Rock.
Round Rock has had the most changes and as best I can tell, the Express are still over the player limit and some transactions are still forthcoming.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Two Legends are All-Stars

Two members of the Lexington Legends are all-stars in the South Atlantic League's North Division. Second baseman Matt Cusick is batting .326 with five home runs, and 22 RBI. Lefty Sergio Severino posted a 2.66 ERA in ten appearances(nine starts) covering 50 2/3 IP before being called up to Salem last week. The game will take place June 17 at Greensboro, North Carolina.

Domincan League Gets started

The Dominican Summer League has gotten underway. Similar to the Venezuelan League, a few players aren't on the Astros roster. The following may end up in Greeneville or Tri-City this month.

Sam Cuevas, 20, OF
Wilton Infante, 20, OF
Dionisio Matulia, 21, RHP
Wander Ortiz, 21, RHP
Joel Romero, 19, RHP
Jose Trinidad, 20, RHP
Henry Villar, 21, RHP

six picks in the top 122

The Astros have six picks out of the first 122 in this week's draft.

A rundown:
Round 1(10th over-all)
Supplemental round(38th over-all)(Compensation for loss of Trever Miller)
Round 2(56th over-all)
Round 3(88th over-all)
Supplemental third round(109th over-all)(compensation for not signing Derek Dietrich after last summer's draft)
Round 4(122nd over-all)

The Astros' first pick last summer didn't come until number 108 over-all. Collin DeLome, the highest draftee that they signed was number 168 over-all.

Only three teams have as many or more picks than the Astros in the first 122.

Brewers-7(Milwaukee actually has six picks in the first 62)
Padres- 6 in the first 111
Phillies- 6 in the first 110

With the state of the Astros farm system, this week provides an opportunity for the franchise to make an upgrade.

Astros Drafts in Review- 2006

Three days until the draft and the look back continues in 2006:

at Corpus Chirsti
Sergio Perez, P(Disabled)
Chris Johnson, 3B
Bud Norris, P(Disabled)
Orlando Rosales, OF

at Salem
Nick Moresi, OF
Casey Hudspeth, P
David Qualben, P
James Van Ostrand, 1B
Greg Buchanan, IF
Bryan Hallberg, P
Chris Salamida, P
Justin Tellam, C
Chad Wagler, P
Tim Torres, IF

at Lexington
Max Sapp, C
Colt Adams, P(Disabled)
Thomas Vessella, P
Eric Taylor(Disabled)

Note: There are a few players from this draft who are currently in Extended Spring Training in Florida and may end up in Greeneville or Tri-City this month.