farmstros can be reached at

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Astros Lose one in Maine

The Astros have lost a battle in the Supreme Court of Maine. Eric Cavers, a catcher in the Astros system through 2006(drafted in 2004) took his case to the highest court of his home state. As best I can make out, Cavers had his career ended by an arm injury. However, the Astros would not pay for his medical bills since they were incurred in Maine. The Supreme Court in Portland ruled that the state's Workman's comp board has jurisdiction over the Astros in this case, and I assume the team is required to pay the bill. I have limited access to this story, but have included links to the story I read as well as the original lawsuit papers.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Newhan Back

The Astros have resigned veteran infielder David Newhan to a minor league contract. Newhan spent 2008 between Round Rock and Houston. He became a free agent when he refused an assignment to Round Rock in October. He will compete for a spot on the roster starting next month.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Homegrown Farmstros in the Future?

The Astros and the City of Houston announced Friday that they are partnering to build an urban baseball academy at a city park in Northwest Houston park. The academy will be the third such school sponsored by major league baseball following projects in the Los Angeles and Miami areas. I have included the full story in the recent articles section. Seeing as how the park is about five miles from Farmstros headquarters, I'm excited that I might get to see some Farmstros(or other future major leaguers really early).

Minor League Pitchers/Catchers Report March 6

Six Weeks and counting until minor league pitchers and catchers report to Florida for the Astros. The team will begin a mini-camp with workouts for select prospects on February 28. However, all pitchers and catchers will be reporting on Friday, March 6. Position players report on March 10 and the first full squad workout at the Osceola Stadium Complex will be on March 11. The minor league regular season opens on April 9.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Astros Newest Affiliate to Have New Owners

The Lancaster Jet Hawks, the Astros new High Class A affiliate, announced that it will have new ownership beginning with the 2009. The franchise in the California League will be purchased by Lawrence Lyttle and Jeff Katofsky. I have included a link to the full article on the sale in the recent articles section.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Beaumont native, Aggie Tyner joins Astros

Major league veteran outfielder Jason Tyner has signed with the Astros. Tyner, 31, from Beaumont, played college baseball at Texas A&M. He was drafted by the Mets in 1998. He has spent parts of eight seasons in the major leagues with the Mets, Rays, Twins, and Indians. In 440 major league games, he has batted .275 with 41 doubles and 11 triples. He spent 2008 with Charlotte(White Sox, AAA) and Buffalo(Indians, AAA). He also had two at bats with the Indians.

According to an report last week the Astros have 18 non-roster invites extended for next month. However, only 17 appear on the team's roster under that category. I would guess that Tyner is #18.

Three Farmstros on WBC rosters

Three players the Astros have added to their farm system this off-season are on the World Baseball Classic provisional roster released today. Infielder Chris Barnwell and pitcher T.J. Burton are in line to represent Canada. Pitcher Chia-Jen Lo is on the roster for Taiwan. The rosters released today include 45 players, and will be trimmed down to 28 for the March tournament.
An additional nine players on the team's 40-man roster including Roy Oswalt(USA) and Carlos Lee(Panama) are on rosters as well.

Additionally, Stubby Clapp, scheduled to be Greeneville's hitting coach in 2009, is on the Canadian roster.

Astros Sign Reliever T.J. Burton

Right-Handed reliever T.J. Burton,25, is now on the roster of Corpus Christi, evidence that Houston has signed the product of the Cleveland organization. Burton was drafted by the Indians in 2001. His high water mark has been AA. He spent last year with AA Akron where he pitched 30 innings in 29 games with a 3.90 ERA.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Baseball America Top 10

Here's the list that BA posted Friday:

Jason Castro, C
Bud Norris, P
Ross Seaton, P
Brian Bogusevic, OF
Chris Johnson, 3B
Jordan Lyles, P
Felipe Paulino, P
Drew Sutton, 2B/SS
Collin DeLome, OF
Jay Austin, OF

Baseball America to Name Astros Top 10 Prospects

Baseball America will be releasing their list of top 10 Astros prospects today. I'll post it here as soon as I see it. If I had to guess 10:

Chia-Jen Lo

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Farmstros on the Radio

I did make it to air on 790 the sports animal Wednesday. I've included the link in the recent articles section. I appear about 20 minutes into the episode with Billy Hatcher(January 14). Thanks Pastor Cain for finding the link.

Six non-roster invites and other minor league moves

With spring training just a week away, the Astros announced six more non-roster invites bringing their total of such players to 17 or 18 depending on your source.

The non-roster invites went to:
Jose Capellan, 28, RHP. Capellan has spent parts of five seasons in the bigs with the Braves, Brewers,Tigers, and Yankees. He has pitched in 99 games with a 4.89 ERA. He spent 2008 with Omaha, Colorado Springs, and the Rockies.

Danny Graves, 35, RHP. Graves has spent 11 years in major league bullpens including several as the Reds closer(he posted 164 saves from 1999-2004). He spent 2008 with Ft. Myers, New Britain, and Rochester in the Minnesota system.

Chad Paronto, 33, RHP. Paronto spent 2008 with Round Rock and Houston. He has 171 major league appearances.

Sergio Perez, 24, RHP. Perez pitched seven games for Corpus Christi in 2008. He missed substantial time with a groin injury and a broken finger.

Brian Esposito, 29, C. Esposito, who has played in one major league game spent 2008 with Tulsa in the Texas League.

Toby Hall, 33, C. Hall has spent nine seasons in the big leagues with Tampa Bay, the Dodgers, and the White Sox. He was with the White Sox in 2008, batting .260 with two home runs.

In addition to these non-roster invites, the club made three minor league signings:

Jeremy Johnson, 26, RHP. Johnson spent 2008 with Toledo pitching 81 2/3 innings with a 4.96 ERA.

Chad Spann, 25, 3B. Spann split 2008 between Pawtucket and Omaha he went 55 for 256 with four home runs and 31 RBI.

Chris Barnwell, 29, SS. Barnwell spent 2008 with Albuquerque batting .276 with six home runs and 42 RBI.

One final note pitcher Jack Cassel has signed with the Cleveland organization.

Farmstros on the Radio

I am scheduled to be on the radio with Jim Deshaies and Dave Raymond tomorrow(Wednesday). JD and Dave's Excellent Off-Season adventure inlcudes a fan guest every week who gets to participate in a contest of some type. I was scheduled to be on the first edition of the show in the fall to recite part of a poem which I had posted on this blog. However, time ran out and I was left in the green room.
The show airs on Houston's 790 AM the Sports Animal at 10 a.m.(Houston time). According to the email I received, I'll be on around 10:20.
The station streams its programming through its website

The Golden Sombrero Wearer

When I was in the green room for J.D. and Dave's Excellent Off-Season Adventure in the Fall, the plan was that I would read part of a poem I wrote for this blog. Here is the entirety of the poem which was written in March of 2008.

The Golden Sombrero Wearer(akaThe Strikeout King)

The bottom of the ninth, two down

A Duke on every base

A 3-nothing deficit stared the batter in the face.

The pitcher, clad in orange and black showed menace in his eyes

His job? To save this final game and claim the season’s prize.

The starter had been strong, through more than eight, no hits did show

In the heat his arm ran out of gas and walked three in a row

So, this fireman was called upon to quench the final spark

Leaving the Duke faithful to stagger in the dark.

To the plate, there strode a Duke who had been royal all year long

When the team was at its weakest, it seemed he became most strong.

Concerning ways to win a game, it seemed he’d done it all

Home runs, stolen bases, and a walk-off base on balls.

He carried them to wins at least a time or three each week.

And while he was a hero, his demeanor remained meek.

Yet, this day his bat was feeble, three straight times he had struck out

As he approached the plate this trip, some fans began to doubt.

He got into the box, his wood was his team’s final chance

The pitcher toed the rubber with his scowling menace glance.

The first pitch was a heater, 102 the radar blinked

The swing was no where even close, more fans felt their hearts sink.

The 0 and 1, no different, soon exploded in the mitt

The swing did not come closer than a half-a-mile of it.

Was this the way it would go down? This new old Casey’s end?

Was his bat to betray him?

It had been his closest friend.

The home crowd had turned silent, some of them just turned away

They couldn’t bear to see the season ended in this way.

So while some eyes averted, strike three hurtled to the plate

The grimace of the swinger was profound, for he was late.

A cry went up in anguish from the bleachers all around

Yet that sign of resignation muffled out another sound

It may have been the strain of catching balls at 1-0-1

It may have been the heat and playing in the summer sun

It may have been a miracle,

That’s still what some folks say

The details of the story are debated e’en today

Still, it seems in every version, the ball went to the backstop

And the catcher’s mitt was rent in two like a worn out old flip-flop.

By the time the catcher realized and discerned the passed ball’s place

The final strikeout victim was already at first base.

There he called out to his teammate who was standing still, quite stunned

“Come on, I’ll take you home! Come on, now with me run!”

Then at second base, he called again, “Come on wake up, run with me!”

With the catcher halfway to the ball, they were heading for base three.

Then the three of them, were rounding third and heading into home

When the Third Base runner realized that he was not alone.

So the four Dukes, they sped quickly, “To the plate! On to the plate!”

They churned their legs and hoped that they would not get home too late.

And the crowd by now, at least a part, had seen the running men

And stood back up and cheered and felt their hope come back again.

Then the catcher got the ball and whirled, yet his throw found only air

The pitcher? Shocked beyond belief, simply put, he wasn’t there.

He seemed stuck on the pitcher’s mound, anchored by some heavy weight.

And he only fell down on his knees as the fourth man crossed the plate.

The Dukes poured from the dugout, seeing this was not a dream

Then the Gold Sombrero wearer was raised up by all his team

The scoreboard told the story, brightly shining, all could see

From the clutches of defeat, the Dukes had claimed a win 4-3.

When all the dust had settled, the call-in shows began

The strikeout was discussed at length throughout the varied land

Most Duke fans were ecstatic

Recounting where they’d been

When the four men hurried to the plate

Securing the great win

Yet, some were not impressed they said, “That is not victory!

To have a season end that way, is just a travesty.”

The fans behind the losers were outraged, appalled, and more

A few signed a petition to protest the final score

The writers wrote, the talkers talked, the poets penned their rhyme

And some folks thought of baseball and the Dukes for the first time

My pencil is exhausted

Its work complete, no doubt

For it’s told of the day

The mighty strikeout king struck out.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Russ Ortiz an Astro

The Astros signed right-handed veteran pitcher Russ Ortiz to a minor league contract with a spring training invite. Ortiz, 34 is 110-82 with a 4.42 ERA over his ten year major league career. He has spent time with San Francisco(two times), Atlanta(where he won 21 games in 2003), Arizona, and Baltimore. He was injured in 2008.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Heck Chats on

Astros Assistant GM Bobby Heck had a chat on today. Included quite a bit of insight into the club's farm system. I included a link to a replay of the chat in the favorites section.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Express, Hooks to meet Twice in April

Houston's top two minor league affiliates will meet twice as a final preparation for the 2009 season in April. Round Rock will Corpus Christi at Dell Diamond on Sunday, April 5 at 2 pm. The teams will travel to Corpus Christi, where the Hooks will host the Express on Tuesday, April 7 at 6 pm. The two games are sandwiched around the big league club's opening game Monday, April 6 at Minute Maid Park against the Cubs.

Castro, Three others invited to Big League Camp

The Astros first-round pick in 2008, Jason Castro will be joining the major league in Florida next month. The catcher was one of four minor leaguers the Astros invited to big league camp. The others are Chris Johnson, 3B, Bud Norris, RHP, and Lou Santangelo,C.

In another note, Richie Paz, IF, who spent last year between Round Rock and Corpus Christi has signed the independent Shreveport Sports for the 2009 season.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Another Royals Cast-off Added to the Fold

Osceola County Stadium may have a Royal Blue tint next month. The Astros will have four players in big league camp who spent 2o08 in the Kansas City system. The fourth is infielder Jason Smith who they have signed to a minor league contract with a big league invite. Smith, 31, was drafted by the Cubs in 1997. He has spent parts of eight seasons in the big leagues with seven different clubs batting .221 in 257 games. He split last season between Omaha and Kansas City. Smith joins former Royals pithcers Gilbert de La Vara, Jeff Fulchino, and Tyler Lumsden in the Houston organization.

In another note, the Astros made it official that IF Mark Saccomanno has signed and been given a big league camp invite and John Gall, 1B has been given an invite to Kissimmee