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Friday, August 29, 2008

Seasons Wrap up This Weekend

With no play-off possibilities remaining, four Astros minor league teams wrap up their 2oo8 seasons over the Labor Day weekend. Round Rock closes out with three games at home vs. Albuquerque. Corpus Christi closes out with four games in three days at San Antonio. The Hooks will have a doubleheader on Sunday. Sergio Perez and Brad James, two top prospects recovering from injuries are slated to start in the twin bill. Salem wraps up with three games at Lynchburg. Lexington finishes the season with three games at Greensboro.
Short Season A Tri-City is the only team playing after Labor Day. The Valley Cats will complete their New York-Penn League schedule on Saturday, September 6.

What Kind of Free Agents do the Astros have?

The Astros could have as many as four free agents this off-season. While all the numbers aren't in yet, I did a little bit of comparison between the Astros potential free agents after 2008, and those players who were rated as Type A and Type B after the 2007 season just to get an idea of what kind of free agents the Astros may have after this season, as that may have an effect on the compensatory picks they might receive in the 2009 draft. Please let me know if you'd like more information on the numbers that are included in the player rating process.

Starting Pitcher
Randy Wolf, LHP. Wolf's numbers in 2007 and so far in 2008, would seem to place him in the type B category as a free agent. His weakness is his high ERA. If he lowers that enough in his final few starts, he could sneak up to Type A, and be worth two picks.

Relievers
Doug Brocail, RHP. Brocail looks like he would be a type B free agent. However, the Astros hold an option on him and I am guessing they will exercise it.

LaTroy Hawkins, RHP. I think Hawkins will be a Type B player. His high ERA is his biggest weakness.

2B/SS/3B
Mark Loretta, IF. Loretta might be a type B player again. However, the decrease in playing time this season may leave him out.

One other note on the 2009 draft, the Astros will receive a third round pick as compensation for not signing 2008 third round pick, Charles Davidson.

Greeneville Astros Wrap-up Season

The Rookie League Greeneville Astros wrapped up their season with a 30 and 36 record. Despite the losing record, several players had seasons that made their names worth remembering heading into the off-season.

Field Players
Frank Almonte(Dominican), OF, .271 with five home runs and 30 RBI in 53 games.
Albert Cartwright(2007 Draft), IF, .306 with17 RBI in 3 games.
Kody Hinze(2008 Undrafted), IF, .269 with eight home runs and 32 RBI in 55 games.
Nathan Metroka(2008 Draft), OF, .327 with eight doubles and 17 RBI in 33 games.
Renzo Tello(Venezuela), OF, .288 with 25 RBI in 44 games.

Pitchers
Luis Cruz(2008 Draft), LHP, 7 starts, 2.28 ERA in 23 2/3 IP prior to an injury.
Kyle Greenwalt(2007 Draft), RHP, 13 starts, 3.14 ERA in 71 2/3 IP, 14 BB/55 K.
Jordan Lyles(2008 Draft), RHP, 13 starts, 3.99 in 489 2/3 IP, 10 BB/64 K.
Colton Pitkin(2007 Draft), LHP, 17 appearances, 3.07 ERA in 44 IP with four saves.
Jose Trinidad(Domincan), RHP, 10 starts, 2.73 ERA in 56 IP, 6 BB/40 K.
Pat Urckfitz(2008 Undrafted), LHP, 15 appearances, 1.40 ERA in 19 1/3 IP.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Farmstros Five- Week 21

The Greeneville Astros ended their last week of the season with the only winning record in the organization fueled in part by three strong starts from their rotation. Greeneville was 4 and 2(30-36); Round Rock was 3 and 4(62-75); Corpus Christi was 3 and 4(22-41); Salem was 3-3(25-39); Lexington was 3 and 4(22-42); Tri-City was 1 and 5(25-44).

The Farmstros Five for the week of August 20-26:
Kyle Greenwalt, RHP, Greeneville. Greenwalt pitched six scoreless innings allowing five hits.
Jordan Lyles, RHP, Greeneville. Lyles pitched five scoreless innings allowing two hits and striking out 10.
Greenwalt and Lyles were promoted to Tri-City at the conclusion of Greeneville's season.
Henry Villar, RHP, Greeneville. Villar pitched six scoreless innings, allowing four hits and striking out six.
Nathan Metroka, OF, Greeneville. Metroka went 10 for 22 with two doubles, one triple, one home run and four RBI.
Ole Sheldon, 1B, Corpus Christi. Sheldon went 7 for 21 with one double, three home runs and nine RBI.

The Difference Between 16 and 15

The Astros currently have the 15th best record in the majors. They lead the 16th place Dodgers by one game. If the team finishes 15th or better, their first round pick in June 2009 would be surrendered in the event they sign a Type A free agent this off-season. If they finish 16th or worse, such a signing would require them to surrender their second round pick(Teams in the top half of the first round, picks #1-15, have their 1st pick protected.)

What difference does this make? A quick glimpse at the last two drafts.

In 2008, the team with the 16th pick, picked 62st over-all in the second round.
In 2007, the team with the 16th pick, picked 80th over-all in the second round.

In 2008, Milwaukee had the 16th pick. The Brewers didn't sign any type A free agents, so they weren't affected.
In 2007, Texas had the 16th pick. They gave up their first pick for signing Frank Catalanatto. The Rangers did pick up five picks in the first and supplemental rounds for lost free agents, however, the first pick that was their own was the 80th(64 later than if they hadn't signed Catalanatto.)

Of course, a better example of the effect of finishing in the top 15 instead of the bottom 15 can be seen in the Astros 2007 draft. Houston had the 17th pick, however, they lost that pick as well as their second round pick for signing Carlos Lee and Woody Williams. Forgetting the loss of a pick for signing Woody Williams, a finish two places lower in 2006 would have allowed to keep its first round pick in 2007.

The position of the second round pick fluctuates from year to year based on the number of compensatory picks given for lost free agents and unsigned draft picks from the previous year. However, the difference between finishing 15th and 16th is always going to be at least 30 slots in the next year's draft if a team signs a Type A free agent.

Perhaps it is a big deal for the Astros to have instant replay for the last five weeks of the season. It would be tragic for them to win the 15th slot on a questionable home run call on September 28.

Transactions 8/20-26

Back down to Round Rock from Houston
Chad Paronto, RHP
J.R. House, C/1B

Up to Round Rock from Corpus Christi
Sammy Gervacio, RHP

On Round Rock's Disabled List
Ron Chiavacci, RHP

Off of Corpus Christi's Disabled List
Sergio Perez, RHP(after one appearance, Perez was placed on the inactive list)

Off of Corpus Christi's Inactive List
Bo Hall, RHP

Back on Salem's Active roster
James Van Ostrand, 1B/OF(Van Ostrand returns from the Olympics)

Up to Tri-City from Greeneville
Kyle Greenwalt, RHP
Jordan Lyles, RHP
Pedro Gonzalez, C

On to Tri-City disabled list
T.J. Steele, OF

On to Greeneville disabled list
Luis Cruz, LHP

Farmstros Headed to Arizona Fall League

With less than a week left in the minor league season, eight Astros minor leaguers are getting ready to head to Arizona this off-season. The eight will be taking part in the Arizona Fall League, which begins the first week of October and runs through early November.

From Round Rock
Chris Johnson, IF

From Corpus Christi
Brian Bogusevic, OF
Chris Blazek, LHP
Brad James, RHP
Bud Norris, RHP
Sergio Perez, RHP
Drew Sutton, IF

From Salem
Mark Ori, IF

Ori will be on the league's taxi squad. The other seven will be on the Scottsdale Scorpions' roster.
Bogusevic will be going to get more work as an outfielder after a mid-season switch to pitching.
Norris, James, and Perez will be getting extra work after missing much of this season with injuries.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Possible September Call-ups

According to Alyson Footer at astros.com, Edwin Maysonet, IF, J.R. Towles, C, Yordany Ramirez, OF, Chris Johnson, 3B, Tommy Manzella, SS are the players being considered for call-up from Round Rock when rosters expand in a week.

Van Ostrand back with Salem

James Van Ostrand is back with Salem. The first baseman returned after completing his time in China with the Canadian Olympic team.

Sutton a Texas League Post-Season All-Star

Corpus Christi Hooks second baseman Drew Sutton was named to the Texas League post-season all-star team. Sutton, playing his second season in Corpus Christi, is among the league leaders in six categories:
Hits-154(first)
Doubles-35(first)
Runs-96(first)
Extra-Base Hits-57(second)
OBP- .408(second)
Batting Average- .315(sixth)

Legends' Affiliation Extended through 2012

The Astros extended their player development with the Lexington Legends through the 2012 season. The team, which plays in the South Atlantic League, has been an Astros' affiliate since the 2001 season.

DSL Astros Season Wraps-up

The Astros' Dominican League team finished their summer season with the second worst record in their league(20-51). The club didn't have much hitting, but several pitchers posted good numbers and may be heading to Greeneville next season.

Miguel Arrendell, 2B, 20, Third Year in DSL. 2008-Arrendell had the team's best average at .284 with 20 stolen bases in 194 at bats.
Martin Espinal, RHP, 21, Fourth Year in DSL. 2008-14 starts, 2.53 ERA, 74 2/3 IP, 16 walks, 62 strikeouts, 61 hits.
Joan Belliard, RHP, 19, Second Year in DSL. 2008- 17 appearances, 35 2/3 IP, 2.78 ERA, seven walks, 32 strikeouts, 30 hits.
Angel Gonzalez, LHP, 19, Second Year in DSL. 2008- 2.95 ERA, 12 starts, 58 IP, 48 hits, 25 walks, 59 strikeouts.
Radaulin Vargas, LHP, 19, Second Year in DSL. 2008- 3.02 ERA, 59 2/3 IP, 53 hits, 18 walks, 64 strikeouts.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Gervacio Up, Sergio Perez Back

Sammy Gervacio has been called up to Round Rock. His space on the Hooks pitching staff was filled by Sergio Perez who came off of the disabled list and pitched Wednesday night for Corpus Christi.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Farmstros Five- Week 20

Salem finished the week of August 13-19 with the only winning record in the organization. The Avalanche went 4 and 3 and improved to 22-36 for the second half. Round Rock was 2 and 4(59-71); Corpus Christi was 2-5(19-37); Lexington was 1 and 6(19-38); Tri-City was 2-3(24-39); and Greeneville broke even at 3 and 3(26-34).

The Farmstros Five for the week:

DougArguello, LHP, Salem. Arguello won both his starts, pitching 14 innings, allowing six hits and one earned run.
Josh Miller, RHP, Round Rock. Miller pitched a complete game three-hit shutout.
Jordan Lyles, RHP, Greeneville. The supplemental first round pick pitched five shutout innings, allowing one hit and eight strikeouts.
Colton Pitkin, LHP, Greeneville. Pitkin mad two appearances, pitched seven scoreless innings, allowed four hits, struck out nine and earned one save.
Mark Ori, 1B, Salem. Ori was 10 for 25 with two doubles, one triple and two home runs and eight RBI.

Astros to Bring Back Fall Instructional League

The Astros will be giving some of their young players a little extra seasoning this off-season. For the first time since 2004, the club will be holding a fall instructional league camp from September 19 to October 25 in Kissimmee, Florida. The club has not taken part in the instructional league since they began their preseason hitting and pitching camps at Minute Maid Park. The future of those Minute Maid Park camps is undecided at this time.

Paulino Diagnosed with Bursitis

Felipe Paulino's season appears to be over, as he has been diagnosed with bursitis in his throwing shoulder. He will start a throwing program from flat ground and will proceed depending on how he does. Paulino made one rehab appearance in Round Rock this season.

Canadians Wrap up Olympics

The Canadian baseball team, including James Van Ostrand and Stubby Clapp finished their schedule with a 2 and 5 record. Van Ostrand went 4 for 14 with one double and two RBIs in the seven game tournament. Clapp went 8 for 28 with one double, one RBI, four runs scored and two RBI.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Transactions 8/13-19

Up to Houston from Round Rock
J.R. House, C/IF

Up to Round Rock from Corpus Christi
Jose Lopez, C

Off of Corpus Christi Disabled List
Ryan McKeller, RHP

On Corpus Christi Inactive List
Bo Hall, RHP

Up to Corpus Christi from Lexington
Jonathan Fixler, C

Up to Lexington from Tri-City
Julian Henson, C

Valley Cat hits walk-off two-run double in NY-P All-Star Game

Tri-City third baseman David Flores hit a two-run double in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the National League All-Stars a 4-3 victory in the NY-Penn League All-Star Game. Flores was named the MVP of the contest.
The game, played at Joseph Bruno Stadium, the home of Tri-City, featured numerous contributions by players from the home team. Jack Shuck, OF, was 2 for 3 with an RBI and a stolen base. He scored the tying run in the ninth inning. Phil Disher, 1B, was 1 for 2 with a double. Philip Rumel pitched a perfect inning, striking out two.

Astros Do have a FEW Tools in the Minors

Only two Astros minor leaguers appear in Baseball America's latest issue, which highlights the players with the "BEST TOOLS" in baseball. Jhon Florentino, Salem's third baseman is listed as the best defensive third baseman and the best infield arm in the Carolina League by the publication. Yordany Ramirez, Round Rock's centerfielder is honored as the best defensive centerfielder and the best outfield arm.
Three of the BEST TOOLS in the International are possessed by former Astros minor leaguers.

Mike Costanzo, 3B, Norfolk has the best infield arm(Costanzo was acquired by Houston in the Lidge trade and then passed on to Baltimore in the Tejada trade)
Jimmy Barthmaier, RHP, Indianapolis has the best curve ball(Barthmaier was picked up by Pittsburgh after the Astros released him following the 2007 season.)
Mitch Talbot, RHP, Durham has the best change up. (Talbot was given up in the Aubrey Huff trade.)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Reineke Wins one for the Padres

Chad Reineke, recently traded to the Padres for Randy Wolf picked up a win for San Diego in his first major league game, a start on Saturday at Petco Park. Reineke went five innings and allowed three runs in the outing. He also chipped in offensively getting his first big league hit and RBI and scoring his first run in the 8-3 victory over the Padres.

Astros sign 32 of 52

When the dust settled on August 15 at 11 pm(Houston time), the Astros had signed 32 of their 52 draft picks. The highest unsigned pick was third round pick Charles Davidson a high school outfielder from Georgia. Davidson will be going to the University of Georgia. As compensation for Davidson's failure to sign the Astros will receive a pick after next summer's third round.

The other picks from the first 20 rounds who didn't sign:

16th Round... Joshua Poytress, LHP from high school in California. Poytress is heading to Fresno State.

20th Round... Robin Shea, C from Vanderbilt University. Shea, a senior at Vandy. is pursuing a business venture rather than continuing his baseball career.

Canadian Farmstros close to Olympic End

Salem Outfielder James Van Ostrand and Lexington batting coach Stubby Clapp will find their Olympic time come to a close on Wednesday. Van Ostrand, Clapp and the Canadian team are 1 and 4 thus far in the eight-team round robin competition, and are out of reach of the top four placement needed to advance to the medal round. With two games left in the tournament, Monday night(Houston time) vs. The Netherlands and Wednesday morning vs. Chinese Taipei, Van Ostrand is 3 for 9 with one double and one RBI. Clapp has started all five games for Canada at second base going 4 for 20 with three runs and an RBI.

Friday, August 15, 2008

One more Valley Cat an All-Star

Tri-City third baseman David Flores has been added to the roster for the New York-Penn League All-Star Game. Flores, the Astros 18th Round Pick out of Cal. State-Sacramento has batted .287 with 14 doubles, eight home runs and 31 RBI in 41 games for the Valley Cats. He replaces teammate outfielder T.J. Steele, who will miss the game due to injury. Flores will join Tri-City's Jack Shuck, OF, Philip Disher, 1B, and Philip Rumel, RHP in the game to be played Tuesday August 19 at 7:15 p.m.( local time) at Tri-City's home field in Troy, New York.

Van Ostrand and Candadians face-off with Team USA

Astros' farm hand James Van Ostrand and his Canadian teammates meet Team USA tonight at 9:30(Houston time) in an Olympic game with Medal Round qualifications. Canada and the United States are both 1 and 2 after three games of the eight team round robin tournament. The winner of tonight's game will have a greatly increased chance of finishing in the top four and moving on to the medal rounds. Through three games, Van Ostrand is 3 for 8 with a double and an RBI. Lexington batting coach, Stubby Clapp, also playing for Canada in Beijing is 3 for 11 with two runs scored and one RBI thus far in the Games.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Farmstros Five- Week 19

Only three full weeks of the minor league regular season remain and after another less than productive week, it appears that none of the Astros farm teams will be playing in the post-season. For the week of August 6-12, only Round Rock was over .500 4 and 2 to improve to 57-67 over-all.
Corpus Christi was 3 and 3(17-32); Salem was 3 and 5(18-33); Lexington was 0 and 6(18-32); Tri-City was 3 and 4(22-36); and Greeneville was 2 and 5(23-31).

The Farmstros Five for the week:
Tim Torres, IF, Salem. Torres was 15 for 31 on the week with six doubles, one triple, one home run and seven RBI.
Eduin Ciriaco, LHP, Tri-City. Ciriaco pitched 5 2/3 innings in two relief appearances. He allowed only one hit and no runs while striking out eight and picking up a victory. He has gone 12 2/3 innings allowing only one hit and no earned runs in the last two weeks.
Jose Duran, RHP, Lexington. Duran pitched six scoreless innings in two appearances. He struck out six and allowed only two hits.
Brian Bogusevic, OF, Corpus Christi. Bogusevic went 10 for 18 with two doubles, one triple and four RBI.
Koby Clemens, C, Salem. Clemens was 6 for 17 with one double, two home runs and seven RBI.

Four Valley Cats are All-Stars

Four of the Astros draft picks in recent June draft are all-stars already, at least in the New York-Penn League. Phil Disher leads a quartet of draftees who will represent the Valley Cats on their home field,Joseph Bruno Stadium in Troy, New York Tuesday August 19 at 7:15 local time. Disher, taken in the 15th round out of South Carolina leads the league with 11 home runs and 41 RBI in 50 games. He is also in the top 10 with a .313 batting average. Disher will take part in the pre-game home run derby as well.
Three teammates will join Disher at the game:

T.J. Steele, OF...4th Round out of Arizona. Steele is batting .283 with eight doubles in 40 games.
Jack Shuck, OF... 6th Round out of Ohio St. Shuck is batting .299 with nine doubles in 46 games.
Phil Rummel, RHP...31st Round out of Kutztown. Rummel is 2-0 with a 1.72 ERA in 14 relief appearances.

Transactions 8/6-12

Up to Houston from Round Rock
Reggie Abercrombie, OF

Reactivated to Round Rock
Danny Klassen, IF(Baseball America reported he was inactive for the Olympics-Canada- but he is back playing with the Express)

Up to Round Rock from Corpus Christi
Richie Paz, IF

Down to Round Rock from Houston after being designated for assignment
Chad Paronto, RHP

Added to Round Rock Disabled List
Tomas Perez, IF

Released from Round Rock
Micah Bowie, LHP

Added to Corpus Christi Roster
Paul Estrada, RHP(Estrada was Rehabbing with the Hooks, but he has been added to the roster)

Up to Salem from Lexington
J.J. Pacella, RHP

Released from Salem
Josh Appell, LHP

Added to Lexington
Jack Tilghman, RHP(Tilghman was signed from Texarkana of the Independent Continental League)

NOTE: Friday, August 15 at 11 pm(Houston Time) is the deadline to sign draft picks from the 2008 draft.

Hallberg throws Five No-Hit innings

Salem reliever Bryan Hallberg threw five hitless innings in a spot start against Myrtle Beach Tuesday night. The Avalanche played two games against the Pelicans, making up a rain out from earlier in the season, necessitating the start for Hallberg, who had previously made 40 relief appearances and pitched 65 1/3 innings this season. For the week, he made three appearances, pitched 7 2/3 innings, and allowed no hits. Normally, a week like this would land Hallberg in the Farmstros Five, however, in one of the three appearances, he lost a game after giving up a run on four walks, despite allowing no hits.

Van Ostrand, Clapp Knock in one Run Each

James Van Ostrand went 2 for 4 and knocked in one run as Canada opened their Olympic schedule with a 10-0 victory over China late Tuesday night(Houston time). Van Ostrand, who spent most of this season with Salem, was Canada's DH in the game. Stubby Clapp, who is on leave from his duties as Lexington's hitting coach went 1 for 3 with an RBI on a sacrifice fly. Canada meets Cuba next at 5 a.m. Thursday morning.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Ty Wigginton, Why did you Take my $25,000?

I was at Minute Maid Park tonight for Game 1 of the Giants series. It so happened that I was selected to be THE FAN in Sonic's Grand Slam sixth inning for the game. In case you aren't familiar with the details, one fan is selected and if the Astros hit a Grand Slam in the sixth that fan wins $25,000 in cash. Houston actually had runners on second and third with one out in the inning. However, rather than coax a walk out of the pitcher, thus giving Miguel Tejada and Lance Berkman a chance to help me pay of my mortgage, Ty Wigginton slapped a 2-run single to center field giving the team a 2-1 lead in what would be a 3-1 victory.
What's really ironic about this event is that I have been to only five professional baseball games this season and I have now been the fan in question for two home run related cash contests. I was selected as part of the Corpus Christi Caller-Times home run contest back in April. I don't remember how much the jackpot was, but I didn't win that one either. Maybe, I need to make a trip to Round Rock before the season wraps up.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Fox Sports AA/AAA Astros Coverage to Wrap Up Sunday

The Hooks game on Sunday vs. Springfield at 6:05(Corpus Christi time) will be the final Express and Hooks game of the season broadcast by Fox Sports Southwest. After Sunday, the network will have aired 12 games involving the Astros two highest affiliates this season.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Farmstros Five- Week 18

What better way to wrap up an 0 and 7 week than being no-hit in the seventh loss? Salem finished a winless week, by going 0 for the game against Frederick on Tuesday night. The Avalanche fell to 15-28 in the second half of the season. After two weeks on the upswing, the Astros minor league teams fell hard during the week of July 30- August 5. Round Rock was 1-6(53-65); Corpus Christi was 1-5(14-29); Lexington was 4-3(18-26); Tri-City was 3-2(19-26); Greeneville was 2-5(21-26)

The Farmstros Five for the week:
Jeff Icenogle, LHP, Lexington. Icenogle made two starts, went 1-0, and gave up 1 earned run while striking out 14 in 11 1/3 IP.
Brian Bogusevic, OF, Corpus Christi. Bogusevic went 7 for 14 with three home runs and eight RBI.
Jose Trinidad, RHP, Greeneville. Trinidad pitched six scoreless innings picking up a win while allowing only four hits.
Michael Hacker, LHP, Tri-City. Hacker made two appearances allowing no runs, one hit and striking out six in five IP. For the season, Hacker has pitched 17 1/3 innings, picked up four saves, struck out 16 and posted an ERA of 0.00.
Eduin Ciriaco, LHP, Tri-City. Ciriaco allowed no runs and no hits in a four inning relief appearance. In his last three outings, he has allowed no runs in seven innings.

Transactions 7/30-8/5

There are only four weeks left in the minor league season, but the transaction wheels keep on turning in the Astros organization:

Designated for Assignment by Houston- Chad Paronto, RHP
Off of Round Rock Disabled List- Ryan Houston, RHP
Rehabbing in Round Rock- Felipe Paulino, RHP
Signed/optioned to Round Rock- Alberto Arias, RHP
Placed on Round Rock's Inactive List- Danny Klassen, IF(as best I can guess, Klassen is on the reserve list for the Canadian Olympic squad)
Down to Corpus Christi from Round Rock- Chance Douglass, RHP
Rehabbing in Corpus Christ from Round Rock- Paul Estrada, RHP
Up to Corpus Christi from Salem- Chris Salamida, LHP
Placed on Corpus Christi's Disabled List- Ryan McKeller, RHP and Evan Englebrook, RHP
Up to Salem from Lexington- Jordan Powell, RHP
Traded from Lexington- Matt Cusick, IF( Cusick was given up for LaTroy Hawkins. The Yankees promoted him to High A Tampa in the Florida State League.)
Up to Lexington from Tri-City- Chris Jackson, IF and Jose Duran, RHP
Up to Tri-City from Greeneville- Brian Wabick, RHP
Off of Greeneville Disabled List- Christopher Turner, OF
Reinstated from Greeneville's Restricted List- Carlos Lazu, LHP(Lazu served a 50 game suspension from last season for a performance enhancing drug violation.)
Placed on Greeneville's inactive list- Devon Torrence, OF(Torrence has returned to the Ohio St. football team.)

Draft Picks Signed:
Ross Seaton, RHP(3rd Round, supplemental)- High School(Texas)(Greeneville)
Christopher Hicks, RHP(14th Round)- Georgia Tech(Tri-City)

Paulino's Rehab appearance Shortened

Felipe Paulino's first rehab appearance for Round Rock ended after 20 pitches on Tuesday. Paulino was pulled from the contest in Portland after experiencing some shoulder stiffness. He retired two batters, gave up one hit and walked one batter. He was scheduled to pitch again Friday in Round Rock, however, a decision on that outing will be made after Paulino is examined by Astros medical director David Lintner.
Another rehabbing pitcher, Paul Estrada, who is on the 40-man roster made his first appearance for Corpus Christi on Wednesday night. He threw nine pitches in a scoreless inning. He allowed two hits while facing four batters at Whataburger Field.

Monday, August 4, 2008

VSL Astros Season Wraps Up

The Venezuelan Summer League Astros weren't able to defend their League title this summer. However, the team did finish in third place with a 37 and 31 record, completing their schedule Saturday.
Seven players from the squad bear keeping an eye on next spring and early summer as the short season gets started stateside:

Luis Alvarez, 1B, 18, two seasons in Venezuela, 2008- .333 with 17 doubles, 7 home runs, and 33 RBI in 207 at bats.
Ricardo Garcia, 2B, 19, three seasons in Venezuela, 2008- .317, 12 doubles and 11 stolen bases in 142 at bats.
Angel Nieves, SS, 18, two seasons in Venezuela, 2008- .277 with 10 doubles in 184 at bats.
Carlos Quevedo, RHP, 18, two seasons in Venezuela, 2008- 1.98 ERA, 14 GS, 68 1/3 IP, 11 BB, and 53 strikeouts.
Yuri Perez, RHP, 17, Two seasons in Venezuela, 2008- 2.68 ERA, 57 innings
Gabriel Garcia, LHP, 19, two seasons in Venezuela, 2008- 3.46 ERA, 54 2/3 IP, 7 BB, and 45 strikeouts.
Dayan Diaz, RHP, 19, three seasons in Venezuela, 2008- 1.85 ERA, 48 2/3 IP, 5 BB and 36 strikeouts.

Van Ostrand Homers, Doubles for Canada

Astros prospect James Van Ostrand doubled, homered and drove in one run in Canada's four game exhibition series with the USA which wrapped up on Monday night in North Carolina. Van Ostrand went 2 for 11 in the series as the two teams prepared for the Olympics which kick off this weekend. Astros minor league coach Stubby Clapp, who is also playing for Team Canada went 4 for 13 with one RBI in the series.

Seaton Signs, What a difference a Year Makes

Ross Seaton signed with the Astros and has reported to rookie level Greeneville, which means the team has signed 14 of their 15 top draft picks in the June draft. The team still has until August 15 to sign Charles Davidson a high school outfielder from Georgia taken in third round to complete a draft sweep. Just a quick comparison between this year's draft and the 2007 draft.

2007
The team's 15th selection came in the 17th Round(531st over-all)
10 of the players drafted signed with the Astros
Of those ten signees, only eight remain in the system after Matt Cusick was traded
The reported bonuses for the top five signees totaled $536,000.

2008
The team's 15th selection came in the 13th Round(392nd over-all)
14 of the players drafted have signed to this point
The reported bonuses for the top 11 signees totaled $5.892 million

Paulino to Take the Hill

Felipe Paulino is scheduled to pitch in his first official game in the United States in over ten months Tuesday in Portland. Paulino will begin his Round Rock rehab assignment pitching one inning in the third game of the Express/Beaver series. Although, he pitched a few games in Venezuela over the winter, Paulino hasn't pitched stateside since starting and winning the Astros' 2007 season finale against the Braves at Minute Maid Park last September 30.