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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Astros Rule 5 Eligible Players

NOTE: This list includes a link to each players page at Also, exact signing information about some of the players at the lower levels is more difficult to pin down so a few of their statuses have been estimated by Farmstros.

Erick Abreu, RHP (Lancaster/Corpus Christi/Round Rock in 2009)
Doug Arguello, LHP (Corpus Christi)
Brandon Barnes, OF (Lexington/Lancaster/Corpus Christi)
Chris Blazek, LHP (Disabled)
Steve Brown, OF (Lexington/Lancaster)
Marcos Cabral, IF (Lancaster)
KOBY CLEMENS, IF/OF (Lancaster/Corpus Christi)
Rayner Contreras, IF (GCL Padres)
Roy Corcoran, RHP (Tacoma/Seattle/Round Rock)
Casey Daigle, RHP (Round Rock)
DAYAN DIAZ, RHP (Disabled)
German Duran, IF (Oklahoma/Corpus Christi)
Jose Duran, RHP (Lancaster)
Mitch Einertson, OF (Corpus Christi)
Brian Esposito, C (Corpus Christi/Round Rock)
Oscar Figueroa, IF (Tri-City)
Josh Flores, OF (Disabled)
Jhonny Florentino, IF (Corpus Christi)
Pedro Gonzalez, C (Lexington)
CASEY HUDSPETH, RHP (Lancaster/Corpus Christi)
Brad James, RHP (Corpus Christi)
Drew Locke, OF (Corpus Christi)
Tyler Lumsden, LHP (Corpus Christ/Round Rock)
Gary Majewski, RHP (Lehigh Valley)
Drew Meyer, IF (Corpus Christi)
NICK MORESI, OF (Lancaster/Corpus Christi)
Oswaldo Navarro, IF (W. Tenn./Tacoma)
Mark Ori, IF (Corpus Christi)
SERGIO PEREZ, RHP (Corpus Christi)
Reinaldo Pestana, C (Lexington)
Alex Romero, IF (Reno/Arizona)
EBERT ROSARIO, IF (Lexington/Lancaster)
Ryan Sadowski, RHP (Fresno)
Lou Santangelo, C (Round Rock)
Sergio Severino, LHP (Lancaster)
Chris Shelton, IF (Tacoma/Seattle)
Gabe Suarez, IF (Lancaster)
Eric Suttle, OF (Lexington/Lancaster)
Renzo Tello, OF (Tri-City)
Jack Tilghman, RHP (Lexington/Lancaster)
JIMMY VAN OSTRAND, 1B/OF (Corpus Christi)
Brandon Wilkerson, IF (GCL Astros)

Astros Minor League Free Agents

A minor league player becomes a free agent after accruing six years of minor league experience. Also, if a player is released from his original affiliated contract or originally signs in an independent or international league, he is a free agent every season. The following is, as best as we can determine, a list of the Farmstros eligible for free agency this off-season. Players in all CAPS are eligible for the first time.

Reggie Abercrombie, OF (Round Rock)
Kenny Baugh, RHP (Corpus Christi)
T.J. Burton, RHP (Corpus Christi/Round Rock) (Re-signed with Houston)
Jose Capellan, RHP (Round Rock)
Chris Coste, C (Houston) (Signed with New York Mets)
Casey Daigle, RHP (Round Rock) (Re-signed with Houston)
Tip Fairchild, RHP (Lancaster) (Retired)
John Gall, IF (Round Rock)
Geoff Geary, RHP (Round Rock/Houston) (signed with Texas)
Abraham Gonzalez, RHP (Greeneville)
Matt Kata, IF (Round Rock/Houston) (Re-signed with Houston)
Mark McLemore, LHP (Round Rock) (Signed with Minnesota)
RYAN MCKELLER, RHP (Corpus Christi/Round Rock)
Drew Meyer, IF (Corpus Christi) (Re-signed with Houston)
Felix Molina, IF (Corpus Christi)
JOSH MUECKE, LHP (Round Rock) (signed with Colorado)
Chad Paronto, RHP (Round Rock/Houston) (Signed with Boston)
RONALD RAMIREZ, IF (Lexington/Lancaster)
MARK SACCOMANNO, IF (Round Rock) (Signed with Florida)
Billy Sadler, RHP (Fresno/Round Rock/Houston)
Ray Sadler, OF (Round Rock)
Jason Smith, IF (Round Rock/Houston)
Chad Spann, IF (Corpus Christi/Round Rock)
Andy Van Hekken, LHP (Corpus Christi/Round Rock) (Re-signed with Houston)
Charlie Weatherby, RHP (Corpus Christi)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

'09 in Review Part 4- Gaston shows off for Bagwell

Lancaster outfielder Jonathan Gaston tied for the minor league lead in home runs with 35 and earned the California-Carolina All-Star Game MVP award with a walk-off home run, but he still had time to give a personal power performance in mid-July for Jeff Bagwell.

Bagwell traveled with the Astros to watch the Dodgers-Astros series that ended Sunday, July 19. After visiting with Mark Loretta and Brad Ausmus, Bagwell was scheduled to see a few JetHawks games in nearby Lancaster. I am not sure exactly which games Bagwell attended, but Jonathan Gaston was not taking any chances.

Beginning with his final two plate appearances late Sunday, July 19 through his last plate appearance in Tuesday's afternoon contest, Gaston had five home runs and three bases on balls which resulted in seven RBI in a total of 10 plate appearances. For the season, the 2008 draft pick batted .278 with 31 doubles, 15 triples, 35 home runs, 14 stolen bases and 100 RBI.

'09 in Review Part 3- Van Ostrand Likes Midland, A Lot

First Baseman Jimmy Van Ostrand's trip to the big leagues would be hastened if he could figure out a way to play all of his games in Midland, Texas. In 2009, Van Ostrand played 16 games at Midland for Corpus Christi. In those games, he was 26 for 65 with five doubles, eight home runs and 25 RBI.

In the other seven Texas League stadiums (including Whataburger Field) Van Ostrand batted .258 with 13 doubles, one triple, eight home runs and 56 RBI.

If Midland is not an option, a new franchise in Europe may be a good plan B for Van Ostrand. In September, he was a major contributor as Team Canada claimed the Bronze Medal in the Baseball World Cup hosted by Europe. In 13 games, Van Ostrand batted .319 with three doubles, three home runs, 10 runs scored and 12 RBI.

Monday, September 28, 2009

'09 in Review Part 2- This season's Rule 5 Catch

When Rule 5 selections Lou Palmisano and Gilbert de La Vara didn't pan out in this season's spring training, it appeared that Wesley Wright would remain alone as an Astros quality Rule 5 pick-up. However, that opinion had to be amended by the end of May when outfielder Drew Locke had announced his presence at Corpus Christi's Whataburger Field. Houston selected Locke in the minor league phase of the 2008 Rule 5 draft after he spent the 2008 season with the Dodgers High A affiliate, Inland Empire.

Getting a chance to play every day in Texas seemed to agree with Locke. In April and May, he led the Texas League in...everything. He batted .376 with 13 doubles, 10 home runs and 57 RBI in 46 games. He cooled off a bit once the summer hit, but he still earned MVP honors with the Hooks. His season totals included a league leading .338 batting average and 109 RBI. He also had 31 doubles and 20 home runs.

Locke's season was cut short by a week with a broken hand, but his hand should be healed in plenty of time for Spring Training 2010.

'09 in Review Part 1- Lexington's Arms in April

With two of Houston's top draft picks from 2008 (Jordan Lyles and Ross Seaton) in the rotation, expectations were high for Lexington's pitching coming out of Spring Training. Those expectations were met, especially in the first month. Four of Lexington's five starters ended the month of April with at least three starts and an ERA under 2.00. In addition, one reliever got started on a solid season with the Legends and another was so dominant that he earned himself a call-up all the way to AA Corpus Christi in May.

Ironically, Lyles, the starter who struggled the most out of the gate, ended the season as the ace of the staff and the top pitching prospect in the minor league system.


The Rotation
Brad Dydalewicz, three starts, 17 innings, 0.00 ERA
Kyle Greenwalt, three starts, 17 innings, 1.06 ERA
Ross Seaton, four starts, 23 2/3 innings, 1.14 ERA
Robert Bono, four starts, 22 innings, 1.64 ERA
Jordan Lyles, four starts, 18 innings, 5.00 ERA

The Bullpen
Henry Villar, six games, 15 1/3 innings, 26 strikeouts, 1.76 ERA
Dan Meszaros, 14 games, nine saves, 12 2/3 innings, 19 strikeouts, 0.71 ERA. After a May call-up, Meszaros spent the remainder of the season in Corpus Christi.

Reverse Standings

With Pudge and the Rangers all mathematically eliminated from the play-offs, the only reason left for scoreboard watching the final week of the season is draft positioning in the 2010 draft.

With the recent tailspin, Houston has assured themselves a finish in the bottom 15 of the major league standings, assuring them a first round pick even if they sign a Type A free agent. #8 through #13 appears to be where the Astros will finish in the reverse standings. A note here that Jason Castro was selected in the #10 spot of the 2008 Draft.

#8 San Diego- 72 - 85- ----
#9 Toronto- 72 - 84- .5
#10 Houston- 72 - 83- 1
#11 Cincy.- 74 - 82- 2.5
#12 White Sox-75 - 81- 3.5
#12 Oakland- 75 - 81- 3.5

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Castro gets Gold

Jason Castro will receive a Gold Medal as Team USA knocked off Cuba 10-5 Sunday in Italy to win the Baseball World Cup. Castro did not play in the final game, he ended the competition with 3 hits in 23 at bats.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Van Ostrand gets a Bronze Medal

First Baseman Jimmy Van Ostrand and Team Canada knocked off Puerto Rico 6-2 Saturday in Italy to claim the Bronze Meal in the Baseball World Cup. Van Ostrand had a two-run home run and three RBI total in the 3rd Place Game. For the entire tournament, he batted .319 (15 for 47) in 13 games. He ended up with three doubles, three home runs, 12 RBI and 10 runs scored.

Jason Castro and Team USA are scheduled to take on Cuba in the Gold Medal Game Sunday at 8 a.m. (Central Time)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Castro, Van Ostrand seeking medals this Weekend

The Baseball World Cup draws to a close this weekend in Italy and two Farmstros are still hopeful of receiving a medal.
Catcher Jason Castro and his Team USA teammates will be playing in Sunday's Gold Medal contest against Cuba. The game is scheduled for 8 a.m. (Central Time) in Nettuno, Italy. After a slow start in the tournament, Castro has been relegated to back-up catcher duty for the Stars and Stripes. In seven games, Castro is three for 23 with one run and one RBI.

Castro's Corpus Christi teammate Jimmy Van Ostrand has made a much larger contribution to Canada's advancement to Saturday's Bronze medal contest against Puerto Rico. The game will begin at 1 p.m. in Grosseto, Italy. Van Ostrand has played in 12 games going 14 for 44. He also has three doubles, two home runs, nine RBI and nine runs scored.

Complete coverage of the Baseball World Cup is available here.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fall Instructional League participants trickle in

The following players have reported to the Astros Fall Instructional camp in Kissimmee. One new name on the roster is infielder Chan J. Moon. Moon was signed this summer out of Korea.

Ruben Alaniz (GCL Astros in 2009)
Wander Alvino (Tri-City)
Tanner Bushue (GCL Astros)
Jose Cisnero (Greeneville)
Luis Cruz (Greeneville)
Brad Dydalewicz (Lexington)
Zack Grimmett (Tri-City)
Chris Hicks (Lancaster)
B.J. Hyatt (Greeneville)
Mark Jones (GCL Astros)
Dallas Keuchel (Tri-City)
Arcenio Leon (Lexington)
Andrea Lucati (GCL Astros)
Jordan Lyles (Lexington)
Juan Minaya (GCL Astros)
Matt Nevarez (Hickory/Lexington)
Nathaniel Pettus (Greeneville/Tri-City)
Colton Pitkin (Tri-City)
Carlos Quevedo (Greeneville)
Euris Quezada (GCL Astros)
Ross Seaton (Lexington)
Pat Urckfitz (Lexington/Lancaster)
Henry Villar (Lexington)
Brandt Walker (Tri-City)

Rene Garcia (Tri-City)
Ernesto Genoves (GCL Astros)
Federico Hernandez (Lexington)
Bubby Williams (Greeneville)

Jose Altuve (Greeneville/Tri-City)
Albert Cartwright (Lexington)
Erik Castro (Tri-City)
Enrique Hernandez (GCL Astros)
Jhonny Medrano (Tri-City)
Jonathan Meyer (Greeneville)
Jiovanni Mier (Greeneville)
Chan J. Moon (signed from Korea)
Ronald Sanchez (GCL Astros)
Brandon Wikoff (Tri-City/Lexington)

Jay Austin (Lexington)
Jake Goebbert (Tri-City)
Grant Hogue (Greeneville)
Ryan Humphrey (Greeneville)
Emilio King (GCL Astros)
J.D. Martinez (Greeneville/Tri-City)
Telvin Nash (GCL Astros)
Geber Suniaga (GCL Astros)
Garen Wright (GCL Astros)

Frank Almonte, OF (Greeneville)
Luis Alvarez, C (Greeneville)
Ricardo Batista, P (GCL Astros)
Ricardo Bonfante, SS (Lexington)
Luis Bryan, SS (GCL Astros)
Phil Disher, 1B (Lexington)
David Flores, 3B (Lancaster)
Juri Perez, P (Greeneville)
Thomas Steele, OF (Lancaster)

Arizona Fall League Players
Jason Castro, C (Corpus Christi)
German Duran, IF (Corpus Christi)
Evan Englebrook, P (Corpus Christi)
Jonathan Gaston, OF (Lancaster)
Chia-jen Lo, P (Lancaster/Corpus Christi)
Wilton Lopez, P (Corpus Christi/Houston)
Dan Meszaros, P (Lexington/Corpus Christi)

Farmstros Off-season gets swinging Monday

After a three week hiatus, Farmstros will be back next Monday wrapping up the regular season and starting off-season coverage. On the calendar:

The Farmstros Season in Review (9 top stories of '09)
Top 13 Prospects in the Houston Farm System

A few things to look forward to in 2010:

After completing the season on a 57-day Twitter Ku streak, Farmstros is preparing to make a Quest for 3000 syllables in the 2010 season. This computes to 177 Twitter Kus in 154 days.

Also, Farmstros will continue to contribute to Crawfish Boxes.

Monday, September 21, 2009

World Cup Final Round Schedules Set

The USA team knocked off Australia Monday to close out the second round of the Baseball World Cup and advance as a #1 seed into the final round Tuesday. Team USA, which includes Jason Castro, carries a 3-0 record from Round 2 into the final round, and therefore has the inside track on a spot in the Gold Medal Game to be played Sunday at 8 am (Central Time). Team Canada and Jimmy Van Ostrand advances with a 1-2 record.

The schedule for Tuesday through Friday (all games at 1 pm unless otherwise noted)

USA vs. Venezuela (Note: Venezuela is the only nation to beat the USA so far in this competition.
Canada vs. Puerto Rico

USA vs. Puerto Rico
Canada vs. Venezuela

USA vs. Cuba
Canada vs. The Netherlands

9/25 (both games are at noon Central Time)
USA vs. The Netherlands
Canada vs. Cuba

Van Ostrand and Castro onto World Cup Final Round

Farmstros Jimmy Van Ostrand(Canada) and Jason Castro(USA) will be in uniform tomorrow when the final round of the Baseball World Cup begins Tuesday in Italy. After struggling early in the competition, Castro appears to be the back-up catcher for team USA. He did pick up his first two hits and one RBI during Sunday's game. Over-all in five games the 2009 first-round draft pick is 2 for 18 with one run scored and one RBI. Van Ostrand has played in eight of Canada's ten games. He is 8 for 28 with one double, two home runs and seven RBI.

Team Canada went 5 and 2 in the second round to advance. The 6-0 Team USA has advanced, but is playing Australia as I type this in a game that has a bearing on seeding for the final round.

Reverse Standings and Pudge Play-off Watch

The Astros seven-game losing streak has moved them one step up in the 2010 draft order. Further, the club is six games clear of the Minnesota Twins, who have the 16th best record in the Major Leagues. Finishing in the bottom 15 spots, assures the Astros they won't lose a first round pick if they sign a Type A free agent.
In other news which affects the prospects who will be in the system in the future, it appears the Rangers will fall short of the play-offs, meaning Houston won't get a third prospect in the Pudge Rodriguez trade.

REVERSE STANDINGS(through 9/21/2009)

10. San Diego- 68 - 82- ----
11. Cincinnati-69 - 81- 1
12. Houston- 70 - 79- 2.5
13. Oakland- 71 - 78- 3.5
14. White Sox- 73 - 77- 5
15. Milwaukee- 74 - 75- 6.5
16. Minnnesota-76 - 73- 8.5

Sunday, September 20, 2009

2009-10 Off-Season Transactions

Fernando Abad, LHP contract purchased and added to the 40-man roster (November)

Jan Baldee, SS released (December)

Josh Banks, RHP signed to minor league contract and invited to Major League Spring Training (January)

Armando Benitez, RHP released from Round Rock (September)

Robert Bono, RHP sent to the Florida Marlins as part of the Matt Lindstrom trade (December)

Jason Bourgeios, OF claimed off of waivers from Milwaukee, added to 40-man roster (October); designated for assignment (January); accepted assignment to Round Rock and invited to Major League training camp (January)

Luis Bryan, IF sent to Florida Marlins as part of the Matt Lindstrom trade (December)

T.J. Burton, RHP re-signed to minor league contract (December)

Jose Capellan, LHP signed to a minor league contract (?/2009)

Kevin Cash, C signed to minor league contract and was invited to Major League spring training (January)

Jason Castro, C invited to Major League Spring Training (January)

Gustavo Chacin, LHP signed to minor league contract and invited to Major League Spring Training (December)

David Cook, OF signed to minor league contract (December)

Roy Corcoran, RHP re-signed to minor league contract and invited to Major League Spring Training (December)

Chris Coste, C refused outright assignment to Round Rock and becomes minor league free agent (October)

Casey Daigle, RHP re-signed to minor league contract and invited to Major League Spring Training (November)

German Duran, IF removed from 40-man roster and assigned to Round Rock (October)

Jose Duran, RHP drafted by Baltimore in the AAA phase of the Rule Draft (December)

Evan Englebrook, RHP added to 40-man roster (November)

Brian Esposito, C invited to Major League Spring Training (January)

Max Fearnow, RHP released (February)

Edgar Ferreira, LHP signed to a contract out of Dominican Republic (December)

Geoff Geary, RHP granted minor league free agency (October)

Carlos Gil, RHP released (February)

Matt Ginter, RHP signed to minor league contract (December)

Pedro Gonzalez, C released (January)

B.J. Hagen, RHP signed to minor league contract (January)

Jeff Hulett, IF released (December)

Brad James, RHP outrighted to Round Rock from Houston. Removed from 40-man roster (November)

Jorge Jimenez, 3B drafted from Boston in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft and consequently sent to Florida as part of the Matt Lindstrom trade (December)

Jeremy Johnson, RHP signed as a minor league free agent (January)

Matt Kata, IF granted minor league free agency (October)

Chia-jen Lo, RHP invited to Major League Spring Training (January)

Jose Lopez, C re-signed to a minor league contract (November)

Shane Loux, RHP signed to minor league contract and invited to Major League Spring Training (January)

Gary Majewski, RHP signed to minor league contract and invited to Major League Spring Training (December)

Tio McLean, RHP released (December)

Nathan Metroka, OF released (December)

Drew Meyer, IF re-signed to a minor league contract (November); invited to Major League Spring Training (December)

Kyle Miller, IF released (December)

Nick Moresi, OF drafted by Washington in the AAA phase of the Rule 5 Draft (December)

Oswaldo Navarro, IF signed to minor league contract and invited to Major League Spring Training (December)

Matt Nevarez, RHP added to 40-man roster (November)

Freddy Parejo, OF signed to minor league contract (December)

Chad Paronto, RHP removed from 40-man roster and becomes a minor league free agent (October)

Ben Paxton, RHP signed to minor league contract (November)

Alex Romero, OF signed to minor league contract and invited to Major League Spring Training (December)

Billy Sadler, RHP removed from 40-man roster and becomes a minor league free agent (October)

Ryan Sadowski, RHP signed to minor league contract and invited to Major League Spring Training (December); released after signing contract to play in Korea (December)

Lou Santangelo, C invited to Major League Spring Training (January)

Chris Shelton, IF signed to minor league contract and invited to Major League Spring Training (December)

Jason Smith, IF granted minor league free agency (October)

Cory Sullivan, OF signed to minor league contract and was invited to Major League training camp (January)

Wladimir Sutil, IF contract purchased and added to the 40-man roster (November)

Eric Suttle, OF released (December)

Jon Switzer, LHP signed to minor league contract (December)

Jose Valdez, RHP signed to contract and added to 40-man roster (November)

Andy Van Hekken, LHP re-signed to minor league contract (December)

Henry Villar, RHP added to 40-man roster (November)

Edwin Walker, LHP signed to minor league contract (February)

Jared Wells, RHP signed to minor league contract (January)

Matt Weston, IF re-signed to minor league contract (October)

Brandon Wilkerson, IF released (December)

Marques Williams, OF released (December)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Paronto up to big leagues

The Astros have purchased the contract of right-handed reliever Chad Paronto. Paronto will be added to a bullpen depleted in part by Jose Valverde's illness. To make room for Paronto on the 40-man roster, Billy Sadler was placed on the 60-day disabled list.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Fall Instructional League Starts This Week

Reportedly, 61 prospects are slated to start the Fall Instructional experience this week at Osceola County Stadium. Players report Thursday. Workouts begins on Friday. Games begin next week and the session runs to the end of October.

Reverse Standings and the Pudge Play-off Watch

The Astros still have the 13th-worst record in the Major Leagues. Meanwhile, the Rangers are now four games behind Boston for the wild-card spot. A play-off berth for Texas means another prospect for the Astros in the Pudge Rodriguez trade.

REVERSE STANDINGS(through 9/13/2009)

12. Milwaukee- 69-73- ----
13. Houston- 70-73- 1/2
14. White Sox- 71-73- 1
15. Minnesota- 71-72- 1 1/2
16. Tampa Bay- 72-71- 2 1/2
17. Cubs- 73-68- 4 1/2

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Van Ostrand, Castro advance in World Cup

Jimmy Van Ostrand made it count once he got on the field for Canada Saturday in the 2009 Baseball World Cup. Van Ostrand went 2 for 3 with a home run and two RBI as Canada won their third straight in the opening round. Van Ostrand's Corpus Christi teammate Jason Castro went 0 for 7 with a run scored in two starts for the USA. USA and Canada both advanced to the second round of the competition. They begin Group F round robin play tomorrow against each other in Italy at 1 pm(Central Time). The top four teams in the eight-team group advance to the third round. Full coverage at the Baseball World Cup website.

Second Round Schedule:

All games are in Italy at 1 pm(Central Time)

September 13
USA vs. Canada

September 14
USA vs. Netherlands Antilles
Canada vs. Australia

September 15
USA vs. Japan
Canada vs. Mexico

September 17
USA vs. Chinese Taipei
Canada vs. Japan

September 18
USA vs. Australia
Canada vs. Netherlands Antilles

September 19
Canada vs. Italy
USA vs. Mexicon

September 20
Canada vs. Chinese Taipei
USA vs. Italy

Friday, September 11, 2009

If I was a golfer....

this is when I would be playing a lot of golf. With the end of the minor league season(and no play-offs) Farmstros will be slowing down a bit the next few weeks. I will keep an eye on Castro and Van Ostrand in the World Cup. Also, will keep a look at the reverse standings, the Rangers play-off run and Type A/Type B free agents, all events which will affect the infux of Farmstros talent in the future.

Otherwise, I will wait until the Major League regular season wraps up(October 4) to pass on information about the club's Rule 5 eligibles, minor league free agents, and top prospects.

Lastly, the Express 63-81

The Express had most of their pitching called up during the season. Several players who didn't make it to Houston, or at least didn't make it until September merit mention:

Brian Bogusevic, 25, OF. Bogusevic wrapped up his first full season as a everyday player with a .271 average. He had 25 doubles, 22 stolen bases, 68 runs and 53 RBI.

Chris Johnson, 24, 3B. Johnson got the September call-up after an injury shortened season. In 104 AAA games, he batted .281 with 20 doubles, 13 home runs and 42 RBI.

Tommy Manzella, 26, SS. Another September call-up, Manzella was named the Express' MVP for the season. He batted .289 with 31 doubles, nine home runs, 12 SB and 56 RBI.

Chad Paronto, 33, RHP. His age and performance in a brief stay in Houston this season make it clear Paronto isn't a "Prospect". However, prospect or not, his bullpen numbers were impressive. In 51 2/3 IP(44 games) Paronto posted a 1.39 ERA with 24 saves. At one point during the season, Paronto had a scoreless streak of 23 2/3 innings.

J.R. Towles, 25, C. Towles is healthy in Houston at the moment. However, he spent a good part of the season injured in Round Rock. When he was a healthy in Round Rock, he batted .276 with four home runs in 56 games.

Polin Trinidad, 24, LHP. Trinidad split his season between Corpus and Round Rock. In 82 2/3 AA innings, he had a 2.94 ERA. He struggled at AAA, but showed flashes. Over-all at Round Rock, he had a 4.53 ERA in 87 1/3 IP.

Hooks, 61-79

Moving up the Astros ladder, Corpus Christi featured the catcher of the future, a pitcher from Taiwan and an outfielder who came out of nowhere. A few players to mention:

Doug Arguello, 24, LHP. When Arguello was healthy, he was solid for the Hooks with a 3.36 ERA in 14 starts(75 IP). He missed close to half the season, so he will probably be in AA again.

Jason Castro, 22, C. After being called up from Lancaster, Castro continued his ascent towards Houston. He batted .293 in 63 games. He drove in 29 runs before leaving for the World Cup.

Chia-jen Lo, 23, RHP. Lo tore up Lancaster(1.78 ERA, 36 Ks in 25 1/3 IP) prior to being promoted to Corpus. He was impressive at AA as well. He made 30 apperances for the Hooks with 39 Ks and a 2.31 ERA in 39 IP.>

Drew Locke, 26, OF. Locke went from Rule 5 draftee to MVP of the Hooks. In 129 games, he batted a league-leading .338 with 31 doubles, 20 home runs and 109 RBI. A broken hand ended his season a few days early, but he should be back for 2010.

Sergio Perez, 24, RHP. Perez was the Hooks most consistent starter. He made 27 starts with a 4.68 ERA in 142 1/3 IP.

Jimmy Van Ostrand, 25, 1B/OF. Van Ostrand was amazing when he played in Midland.
Over-all for the season, the Canadian World Cup representative batted .283 with 16 home runs and 71 RBI.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

JetHawks, 56-84

In spite of having one of the 10 worst records in minor league baseball, there are some players to mention from Lancaster's 2009 season:

Fernando Abad, 23, LHP. Due to the ballpark it is difficult to get a gauge of pitching performance in Lancaster. Abad made 41 appearances out of the JetHawk bullpen. He pitched 82 2/3 inningsand struck out 79(w/eight walks!). His ERA was 4.14 and his WHIP was 1.04. He ended the season with a short stay at Corpus Christi.

Brandon Barnes, 23, OF. After being called up from Lexington, Barnes batted .293 with 12 home runs and 52 RBI in 66 games for Lancaster. He was promoted to Corpus Christi late in the season.

Leandro Cespedes, 22, RHP. Cespedes had a 5.06 ERA in 131 2/3 IP. He struck out 116 and had a WHIP of 1.55.

Koby Clemens, 22, C/OF/DH. If Clemens could find a position, he might be dangerous. In his second season of High A baseball, Clemens batted .345 with 45 doubles, six triples, 22 HR and 121 RBI for Lancaster. His RBI total(123, including two during a brief stop in Corpus) led the minor leagues.

Jonathan Gaston, 22, OF. Gaston led the minors with 35 home runs this season. He also drove in 100. In addition, he had 31 doubles, and 15 triples. To top it off, his walk-off home run in the California/Carolina League All-Star Game earned the MVP award for that contest.

Jack Shuck, 22, OF. Shuck led off for the Jet Hawks this season and had a .389 OBP. His batting average was .315 with 30 doubles and 11 triples. He added 64 walks and 18 steals in 27 attempts.

Legends No More...until 2010

The Legends season has wrapped up for 2009. The team had a defensive lean as evidenced by five of the six players to mention are pitchers:

Jay Austin, 19, OF. After hitting under .200 in a 2008 short season, Austin's bat came around a bit. He batted .267 with 22 doubles and 23 stolen bases.

Robert Bono, 18, RHP. Bono made 25 starts, and pitched 143 1/3 innings. His ERA was 3.20 and his WHIP was 1.23.

Jordan Lyles, 18, RHP. With Bud Norris in the major leagues, Lyles is likely the top pitching prospect in the system now. He made 26 starts this season, pitched 144 2/3 innnings and struck out 167. His ERA was 3.24 and his WHIP was 1.19.

Matt Nevarez, 22, RHP. Nevarez was impressive for Lexington after being acquired in the Pudge Rodriguez trade. Eight games, 8 1/3 innings, one win, four saves, 13 strikeouts and an 0.00 ERA. Over-all between Hickory and Lexington he had 13 saves and 63 Ks with a 2.28 ERA in 43 1/3 IP. Nevarez is Rule 5 Draft eligible this Winter, so it will be interesting to see if the Astros see fit to protect him on the 40-man roster.

Ross Seaton, 19, RHP. Seaton made 24 starts and threw the team's only complete game shutout. He pitched 136 2/3 innings with and ERA of 3.29 and a WHIP of 1.29

Henry Villar, 22, RHP. Villar made 43 appearances this season(40 out of the bullpen). In 90 IP, he struck out 109 while allowing only 18 walks. His ERA was 2.60 and his WHIP was 1.09.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

World Cup starts for Castro, Van Ostrand Thursday

The first round of the 2009 Baseball World Cup starts today in Europe. Farmstros, Jason Castro(USA) and Jimmy Van Ostrand(Canada) begin their opening round play Thursday.

Their schedules

USA(in Germany)
Thursday, vs. Venezuela(noon, Central Time)
Friday, vs. Germany(noon)(this game is scheduled to be on the MLB Network)
Saturday, vs. China(7 am)

Canada(in Sweden)
Thursday, vs. South Korea(noon)
Friday, vs. Netherlands Antilles(noon)
Saturday, vs. Sweden(10 am)

Keep Watching that Scoreboard

While the only relevant play-off speculation at Minute Maid Park is now whether or not Pudge Rodriguez can lead the Rangers past Red Sox into a wild card berth, thus gaining the Astros another PTBNL, thanks to Zach Levine at the Houston Chronicle for pointing out that there is still a reason for scoreboard watching... the reverse standings watch.

To put it briefly, if the Astros finish in the bottom 15 of the big league standings, they can sign a Type A Free Agent this off-season without losing a first round pick in the 2010 draft. They WILL lose a 2nd round pick in that case. At the moment, the Astros have the 13th worst record in the bigs, 3 1/2 games clear of the 16th place Cubs.

The standings through September 8, 2009

12. Milwaukee 66-72- ----
13. Houston 67-71- 1
14. White Sox 69-71- 2
15. Minnesota 69-69- 3
16. Cubs 70-67- 4.5
17. Atlanta 71-67- 5

Farmstros Five 2009- Week 22

The season wrapped on a high note as three teams finished with winning weeks: Round Rock, 4-2(63-81); Lexington, 4-2(32-38, Second Half); Tri-City, 4-2(27-48); Corpus Christi, 1-5(30-40); Lancaster, 3-3(30-40)

The Farmstros Five for the week of September 2-7, 2009:

The Top Performer:

Robert Bono, 20, RHP, Lexington. Bono pitched a complete game four-hitter on the final day of the season. He allowed one earned run and struck out four.

The other four:

Marcos Cabral, 25, IF, Lancaster. Cabral finished the season going 12 for 25 with three doubles, one triple and nine RBI.

Jonathan Gaston, 22, OF, Lancaster. Gaston finished the campaign on a solid note going 9 for 24 with one double, three home runs and eight RBI. The hot week helped Gaston end the season tied for the minor league lead in home runs with 35. He also reached the 100 mark in RBI.

J.D. Martinez, 22, OF, Tri-City. Martinez went 7 for 18 with one double, one home run and three RBI. He ended the season as the batting average champion in the New York-Penn League.

Andy Van Hekken, 30, LHP, Corpus Christi. Van Hekken, who bounced between Round Rock and Corpus Christi this season, made his final start of the season a good one. He pitched eight innings allowing five hits and one run while striking out nine.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Packing the Bags

With the season closing yesterday, Farmstros is getting ready for the off-season. We will wrap up with information on the four full season affiliates' seasons this week. Also, we will be keeping up with Castro and Van Ostrand in the World Cup. Other than that, it will be golf and naps until the Arizona Fall League gets rolling.

If you enjoy this blog, I encourage you to consider making a contribution of appreciation to the Houston Food Bank as the season ends.

A few thanks to those who helped with Farmstros this year...

Stephen Grande in the Astros media relations office who got me a media guide. That book has gotten much use this season.

Avery Holton with Round Rock. Word is he is retiring and moving on to get more educated. He was quite patient with all my inquiries about the ever-changing Round Rock roster.

Mark Maloney at His blog was the source for all information about the blog. Additionally, he kept posting links to the Farmstros Five.

Gil with the Hooks, who gives one mean tour of Whataburger Field

Whoever posts the game notes for every Hooks game(home and away). Always packed with information.

Duman. If you have a question about the Greeneville Astros, he is the answer man. Actually, that applies to much of the minor league system.

Zach Levine at the Chronicle. Once he got rolling covering the minor league system, he did a bang up job. Trips to Corpus and Round Rock.

Jeff Lasky, the Lancaster announcer who gave me a chance to write an article in the JetHawks game program.

JD and Dave, who put me on their Excellent Off-Season Adventure twice and gave me a t-shirt.

The Crawfish Boxes, who gave me a wider audience to disperse major amounts of minor information. Thanks, Dying Quail and High Level Performer.

Valley Cats, 27-48

Tri-City finished their season the day before Labor Day with a 27-48 record. Several pitchers got off to a good start in professional baseball. Also, two position players finished the year in Tri-City after starting at Greeneville.

Jose Altuve, 19, 2B. Altuve was an Appalachian League All-Star with a .324 average in 45 games for Greeneville before being promoted to Tri-City. At Tri-City batted only .250 in 76 at bats.

Kirk Clark, 21, RHP. The Astros signed Clark as an undrafted free agent this summer. For Tri-City he made 10 appearances and posted a 1.89 ERA with 24 Ks in 19 IP>

Dallas Keuchel, 21, LHP.(2009, 7th Round Pick) Keuchel's reporting to Tri-City was delayed by a stop in Omaha, where he performed quite well for Arkansas in the College World Series. As a professional, Keuchel pitched 56 2/3 innings with 44 strikeouts and a 2.70 ERA.

James MacDonald, 22, RHP.(2009, 18th Round Pick) MacDonald was Tri-City's closer this summer. He had eight saves and 29 strikeouts with a 2.53 ERA in 32 IP.

Julio Martinez, 22, OF.(2009, 20th Round Pick) Martinez started out in Greeneville where he batted .403 with five home runs and 23 RBI in 19 games. After the call-up to Tri-City, he batted .326 with seven home runs and 33 RBI. For Tri-City, he finished the season as the New York-Penn League batting championship.

Mike Modica, 22, LHP.(2009, 24th Round Pick) The Astros liked Modica so much that they drafted him in 2008 and 2009. Once they got him signed, he pitched 31 innings for Tri-City. His ERA was 2.61.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Season Wraps Up

The Astros four top affiliates wrapped up their seasons Monday. The final records:

Round Rock, 63-81

Corpus Christi, 30-40(Second Half); 61-79(Over-all)

Lancaster, 30-40(Second Half); 56-84(Over-all)

Lexington, 32-38(Second Half); 68-72(Over-all)

I will be wrapping up these season's as well as Tri-City this week.

If you want to plan ahead, The Astros four full season affiliates will all be starting the 2010 season on Thursday, April 8 on the road. Round Rock @ New Orleans, Corpus Christi @ Tulsa, Lancaster @ Bakersfield, Lexington @ Charleston, S.C.. The four home openers are scheduled as follows:

Round Rock vs. New Orleans(April 16)
Corpus Christi vs. Tulsa(April 15)
Lancaster vs. Lake Elsinore(April 12)
Lexington vs. Greenville(April 16)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Gaston, Pellegrini 1-2 in Home Runs

Jonathan Gaston of Lancaster homered in the bottom of the first inning Sunday night to take the minor league lead in home runs with 35. Gaston hit his 34th home run in the bottom of first inning Saturday. Earlier today, Brian Pellegrini of Lexington pulled into a tie for second with his 34th round-tripper. Pellegrini has 27 home runs for Lexington and seven for Lancaster. He is tied with Albuquerque's Mitch Jones heading into the Labor Day Finale.

Tri-City, 27-48

The Tri-City wrapped up their season Sunday afternoon with a 3-0 loss at Aberdeen. The Valley Cats had a final record of 27-48.

Spend your Labor Day with Farmstros

In case a menu of Astros/Phillies and Jerry Lewis doesn't do it for you this Labor Day, celebrate the holiday with Farmstros. Listen to and watch Houston's top four farm teams as they close out their seasons. Online audio is available here.

12:05 Round Rock vs. Omaha(video at the Express website)

1:05 Lexington at Bowling Green

8:00 Lancaster vs. Inland Empire(Please note this is a different time than previously posted)
Gaston is tied with Albuquerque's Jones at 35 home runs going into the game.

7:05 Corpus Christi vs. San Antonio(video at the Hooks website)

Twitter Ku Streak hits 56

Lyles ends season strong
Six innings, four hits, one run
Is Corpus next up?

With this Twitter Ku, which was tweeted this morning, Farmstros Twitter Ku streak reached 56 straight days. This streak ties Jose "Senor" Cafe for the longest streak of all-time. Farmstros is aiming to break the streak Monday, which is fittingly the final day of the minor league season. Follow the streak here.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Gaston Pulls into tie for Home Run lead

Lancaster's Jon Gaston homered in the bottom of the first inning of the Jet Hawks game tonight. The blast gave Gaston 34 for the season and tied him with Albuquerque's Mitch Jones for the lead in all the minor leagues.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Greeneville Astros win 27

The Astros affiliate in the Appalachian League went 27-40(or 41, depending on what source you look at). Either way there were a few players to mention:

Aaron Bray, 22, 1B. Bray(27th Round Pick) batted .278 with 20 RBI in 48 games.

Jose Cisnero, 20, RHP. Cisnero made thirteen starts and posted a 3.56 ERA with 64 Ks in 55 2/3 IP.

Grant Hogue, 23, OF. Hogue(35th Round Pick) batted .284 with 17 stolen bases in 53 games.

Jiovanni Mier, 19, SS. Mier(1st Round Pick) batted .276 with seven home runs and 32 RBI with 10 stolen bases in 51 games.

Juri Perez, 19, RHP. Perez had a 2.79 ERA in 15 appearances. He had 60 strikeouts in 51 2/3 IP.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

GCL Astros win 18

The Gulf Coast League Astros didn't win much this summer, but a few players showed some promise for 2010 and beyond. The GCL Astros final record was 18-38.

A few players to mention:

Luis Bryan, 18, SS. Bryan batted .340 in 31 games. He had six doubles, two triples, and 19 RBI.

Tanner Bushue, 18, RHP. Bushue, a second round pick in 2009, made five starts and had a 2.42 ERA with 19 Ks in 22 1/3 IP. Unfortunately, his season was caught short by a back injury.

John Frawley, 23, RHP. Frawley was an undrafted free agent. He only pitched 20 innings in seven appearances, but he had a 0.90 ERA and 25 strikeouts.

Enrique Hernandez, 18, SS. Hernandez was picked up in the sixth round of this summer's draft. He batted .295 in 53 games with 12 doubles and 27 RBI.

Spencer Hylander, 23, LHP. Hylander was selected in the 50th round of this summer's draft. He pitched 39 innings for the GCL Astros. He logged a 3.23 ERA during that time.

Rafael Pio, 21, RHP. Pio had a 3.12 ERA in 17 relief appearances(43 1/3 IP). He struck out 41 while walking only 10.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Altuve Greeneville MVP

Infielder Jose Altuve, who is finishing the season at Tri-City, was named the MVP of the Greeneville Astros. Greeneville outfielder Grant Hogue received the Oscar Padron Award, which is given for excellence on and off the field.

Farmstros Five 2009- Week 21

With only six days left, only five teams are still playing in the Houston farm system.
Lexington went 5-2 for the week(28-36, in the second half); Greeneville ended their season with a 5-2 week(27-40); Round Rock was 3-4(59-79); Corpus Christi, 4-3(29-35); Lancaster, 0-6(27-37); Tri-City, 2-6(23-46); the GCL Astros finished their season with a 2-3 week(18-38)

The Farmstros Five for the week of August 26- September 1, 2009:

Interestingly, all five pitchers in this week's Farmstros Five were acquired in ways other than the draft.

The Top Performer:

Chia-jen Lo, 23, RHP, Corpus Christi. Lo pitched seven scoreless innings in two relief appearances. He allowed four hits and struck out 10, picking up one save(Lo was signed out of Taiwan)

The other four:

Jose Cisnero, 23, RHP, Greeneville. Cisnero pitched six hitless innings in a start Friday with five strikeouts. However, it appears a first inning error has been changed to a hit, because his line now shows one hit allowed.(Cisnero was signed out of the Dominican Republic)

Kirk Clark, 21, RHP, Tri-City. Clark allowed no runs and two hits striking out 10 over three appearances(6 1/3 IP). (Clark was signed as an undrafted Free Agent this summer)

Henry Villar, 22, RHP, Lexington. Villar made three appearances with nine strikeouts, five hits and no runs allowed over 6 2/3 IP.(Villar was signed out of the Dominican Republic)

Mattt Nevarez, 22, RHP, Lexington. Nevarez made three scoreless appearances with no hits allowed. He had five strikeouts over four innings pitched. He has yet to allow a run since joining the organization.(Nevarez was acquired as a part of the Pudge Rodriguez trade)

Three Farmstros on the Leader Board

With only six games left in the regular season, three Farmstros are high in the minor league standings for Home Runs and RBI.

Koby Clemens, Lancaster leads the minors with 119 RBI. He had two at Corpus Christi and the remainder for Lancaster.

Lancaster's Jonathan Gaston and Lexington's Brian Pellegrini are tied for second in the minors with 32 Home Runs. They trail Albuquerque's Mitch Jones(33). Pellegrini hit eight home runs for Lancaster and the rest at Lexington.

Greeneville Season Ends

The Greeneville Astros closed their season Monday night with a win. The team finished the year with a 27-41 record.

2009-10 Off-Season Calendar

In case you aren't content to just look out the window waiting for Spring to come, here's a calendar of events for the upcoming off-season:

April 5- Astros Opening Day
April 6- Round Rock at Corpus Christi (6 p.m.)
April 7- Corpus Christi at Round Rock (2 p.m.)
April 8- Minor League Opening Day
April 8- Farmstros' QUEST FOR 3000 SYLLABLES Begins