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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Astros All-Decade Team 2010-19

With the decade nearing a close, there is no shortage of all-decade lists, including this Astros all-decade team.

Since you come to Farmstros to Follow the Astros of the Future with us, it seems fitting to close the decade by looking at the Astros of the NEXT decade.

(ages are as of 2010, minor league opening day)

Catcher, Jason Castro, 22. Castro seems to be on course to join the big club in 2010. Hopefully, he will be solid behind the plate for the decade to come.

1B, Phil Disher, 24. Unfortunately, I don't think Lance Berkman has enough in the tank to contend for 1B of the next decade. Up-and-coming first basemen in the system are hard to find. Disher had a solid short-season in 2008 before being injured for most of 2009.

2B, Jose Altuve, 19. Altuve should be playing a full-season in 2010. He was solid at Greeneville and Tri-City in 2009. There's not much in the middle infield in the upper levels of the system.

SS, Jio Mier, 19. I'm not sure how long it will take the 2009 1st pick to make it to Minute Maid Park, but he should be there long enough to make an impact next decade.

3B, Someone the Astros draft in 2010 or 2011. Third base may be the weakest position in the organization. It's evident that Chris Johnson is not making anyone clear a spot for him. Let's see who the club can pick up for the hot corner.

OF, Hunter Pence, 26. Pence is on his way to being the face of the club,especially once Berkman and Oswalt move on.

OF, Michael Bourn, 27. If Bourn can keep building on his 2009 season, he will make everyone forget the Brad Lidge trade, if they haven't already.

OF, Drew Locke, 27. Selected in the minor league phase of the 2008 Rule 5 Draft, Locke tore up the Texas League in 2009. If he does the same at Round Rock in 2010, Houston should be his next stop.

Utility, Koby Clemens, 23. Clemens may have trouble finding a position, but he showed some offense in 2009. His bat may give him a chance to contribute in his hometown.

Right-handed Starter, Jordan Lyles, 19. All returns have been good so far on Lyles. Look for him to be pitching to Jason Castro for a good while.

Left-handed starter, Polin Trinidad, 25. If Wandy was a bit younger, I'd lean to him on this. However, if Trinidad can get more precise with his control he could stick around Texas Avenue for awhile.

Set-up Reliever, Henry Villar, 22. Villar had a solid showing in Lexington in 2009 and was added to the 40-man roster. He seems to be on a fast path to the Astros bullpen.

Closer, Chia-jen Lo, 24. Lo's first season in the USA was impressive. He could be in Houston near the end of 2010.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Quest for 3000 Syllables

With the 2010 minor league season less than 100 days away as of today, Farmstros is excited to share information about The Quest for 3000 Syllables which begins on April 8, 2010.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

100 Days to Go!

The 2010 season begins in 100 days. April 8, 2010 marks the beginning of The Quest for 300 Syllables here at Farmstros.

All four of Houston's top affiliates will begin the season on the road:

April 8
Round Rock at New Orleans (7:00- All Times Houston Time)
Corpus Christi at Tulsa (7:05)
Lancaster at Bakersfield (9:15)
Lexington at Charleston, S.C. (Time TBA)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Holiday Farmstros Twitter Ku

A Baby was born
So I'm taking four days off
Happy Holidays!

Venezuelan Minors End Too

Speaking of the Venezuelan Winter League mentioned in the previous post, several weeks ago a reader sent me this link to the Venezuelan Winter Minor League, which has also wrapped up.

A few Farmstros played numerous games in this league:

Jose Altuve, .383, 149 at bats, eight steals
Oscar Figueroa, .303, 188 at bats
Nestor Santana, .260, 77 at bats
Renzo Tello, .256, 82 at bats

NOTE: There are two Jose Altuves in the league, but the stats above are for the one who is an infielder.

Venezuelan Winter Season Closes

The Venezuelan Winter League Regular Season ended Wednesday. Farmstros performances in Venezuela:

Drew Locke, .266, 184 at bats, five home runs, 25 RBI
Oswaldo Navarro, .350, 40 at bats
Alex Romero, .345, 171 at bats
Wladimir Sutil, .298, 114 at bats
Doug Arguello, 6 2/3 IP, 0.00 ERA
Yorman Bazardo, 8 2/3 IP, 5.19 ERA
Gustavo Chacin, 36 IP, 4.25 ERA

Oh, There's Two Jose Capellans

You may notice that Jose Capellan is listed as a Farmstro who played in the recently completed Dominican Winter League. Over the past few months, I just assumed it was due to an oversight that Capellan was listed as being affiliated with Houston. The major league veteran who spent 2009 in Round Rock is now a free agent seeking a new team for 2010. However, Wednesday while compiling the stats. from the Dominican Winter League I noticed that the listed Capellan is a left-handed pitcher, while the veteran pitcher who played for Round Rock last season is a right-hander. After a bit of research I discovered that there are two Jose Capellans. The Jose Capellan now in the Houston system spent 2009 with Salem of the Boston organization and as best as I can tell was signed as a minor league free agent.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Dominican Winter Season Wraps Up

The Dominican Winter Regular Season has come to a close. Farmstros performances in the season:

Yordany Ramirez, .256 in 86 at bats

Fernando Abad, 10 starts, 47 1/3 IP, 3.42 ERA
Erick Abreu, Eight games, 9 2/3 IP, 2.79 ERA
Jose Capellan, 25 1/3 IP, 3.55 ERA
Gustavo Chacin, Eight starts, 36 IP, 4.25 ERA
Sammy Gervacio, 6 1/3 IP, 2.84 ERA
Polin Trinidad, 7 1/3 IP, 2.45 ERA
Jose Valdez, 22 IP, 1.64 ERA
Wesley Wright*, Eight Starts, 35 2/3 IP, 4.29

*Wright is an honorary Farmstro as he is making the conversion to starter.

Who's Going to put His Finger in the Astros' Dike now?

Eight Farmstros have been released inlcuding Jan Baldee. Baldee, SS was signed out of the Netherlands by Houston in the Winter of 2007.

Others released:
Jeff Hulett, IF
Tio McLean, RHP
Nathan Metroka, OF
Kyle Miller, IF
Eric Suttle, OF
Brandon Wilkerson, IF
Marques Williams, OF

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Hooks Killer B's?

The Corpus Christi Hooks website continues its profile of some of the Astros minor league players with a look at Brandon Barnes, Chris Blazek, and T.J. Burton.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Your Invitation Might be in the Mail

With the signing of Jason Michaels, the Astros 40-man roster is filled. This means that the only way to make it to big league camp now is via non-roster invitation. As of today, nine players have received such an invitation. It is likely the Astros will sign a few more players to minor league contracts and invite them. Also, a few prospects, including Jason Castro will get invited to experience big league camp and/or compete for a big league spot. Additionally, expect a few catchers to get invited in order to have enough mitts available for the 26 or more pitchers to throw to.

Non-roster invitees:
Gustavo Chacin, LHP
Roy Corcoran, RHP
Casey Daigle, RHP
Gary Majewski, RHP
Drew Meyer, IF
Oswaldo Navarro, IF
Alex Romero, OF
Ryan Sadowski, RHP
Chris Shelton, IF

A few other players who might be invited in order of likelihood:

Jason Castro, C
Brian Esposito, C
Lou Santangelo, C
Sergio Perez, RHP
Drew Locke, OF
Jose Lopez, C
Jonathan Fixler, C
Koby Clemens, C

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Profile of Hooks Begins

The Corpus Christi Hooks web team is profiling some of the Hooks. The first installment looks at pitchers Fernando Abad, Erick Abreu, and Doug Arguello.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Astros Sign 17-year old for $350,000

The Astros signed left-hander Edgar Ferreira for $350,000 out of the Dominican Republic. Brian McTaggart has the whole story at

Friday, December 11, 2009

Now Looking ahead to the 2010 Rule 5 Draft

With the 2009 Rule 5 Draft in the books, here's five Farmstros who will be vulnerable next December for the first time:

Jose Altuve, IF (Likely to be in Lexington in 2010)
Collin DeLome, OF (Round Rock)
Kyle Greenwalt, RHP (Lancaster or Corpus Christi)
Jordan Powell, RHP (Corpus Christi)
Brian Wabick, RHP (Lancaster or Corpus Christi)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Interview with Bennett

Express/Hooks TV posted this interview with Ricky Bennett from baseball's winter meetings. Has some information on what the club is thinking for the Express and Hooks in 2010.

Boys of Summer Documentary

I received an email from Robert Cochrane who traveled to all 30 big league parks several years ago with his father who suffers from Parkinson's Disease. He made a documentary of the trip called THE BOYS OF SUMMER, which is available for purchase. The proceeds of all sales go to the Michael J. Fox Foundation to battle Parkinson's.

Take a Number, Pedro Feliz

Here's Farmstros entry in the most trivial trivia contest from this year's winter meetings. With the signing of free agent third baseman Pedro Feliz, the Astros now have two third basemen named Pedro Feliz in their organization. The Astros original Pedro Feliz was signed in 2008 out of the Dominican Republic. He spent 2009 with the short-season GCL Astros.

Duran and Moresi Drafted in Minor League Phase

Two Farmstros were selected in the AAA Phase of Thursday's Rule 5 draft. Baltimore selected Jose Duran, RHP who spent 2009 with Lancaster. Washington selected Nick Moresi, OF who spent 2009 between Lancaster and Corpus Christi. The Orioles and Nationals will pay the Astros $12,000 each for these selections.

Astros Draft Jimenez...and Trade him

The Astros drafted 3B Jorge Jimenez from the Boston organization in Thursday's Rule 5 draft. They proceeded to trade him to Florida as the Player to Be named later in the Matt Lindstrom trade.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Bono, Bryan Leave the Farmstros

The depth of the Astros farm system takes a hit with the departure of two prospects in the trade for Matt Lindstrom Wednesday as well as reportedly a pick in Thursday's Rule 5 draft. However, Robert Bono and Luis Bryan are far enough down the ladder that it's worth the risk to see if Lindstrom regains his form of 2007 and 2008.

Robert Bono, RHP will be 22 by opening day of 2010. He was part of the Lexington starting rotation in 2009 posting a 3.20 ERA in 25 starts. He was named a member of the Farmstros Five three times in 2009.

Luis Bryan, IF, 20 spent 2009 with the short season GCL Astros where he batted .340 in 31 games and received one Farmstros Five honor.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Heck Finds Two Gifts in his Stocking

The day after St. Nicholas Day, Bobby Heck found two extra 2010 picks in his draft stocking. Jose Valverde ("Mr. Small Glove" as my son calls him) declined arbitration late Monday night. In the likely event that Valverde, a type A free agent signs elsewhere, Bobby Heck and the Astros draft team will get two compensatory picks to work with in the June draft.

If Valverde signs with team whose pick is between 17-32, Houston gets that team's first round pick.
If Valverde signs with team whose pick is between 1-16, Houston gets that team's second round pick.
Wherever Valverde signs, Houston receives an extra pick in the supplemental round between the first two rounds.
*Based on this information, the ideal team for Valverde to sign with from a draft perspective would be Tampa Bay, which has the 17th over-all pick. Can you help us out, Gerry Hunsicker?

A possible scenario of what Houston will have to work with in the first two rounds on June 7, 2010. (the draft runs through June 9):

The numbers vary based on the number of Type A and B free agents who sign after decining arbitration, as this effects the number of supplemental pick. However, for example if 20 free agents requiring compensation sign, the Astros would at worst have four picks in the first 69.

1. #8 over-all (The team's original pick)
2. Between #17 and #32 over-all or between #54 and #69 over-all (Depending on where Valverde signs
3. Between #33 and #53 (Supplemental pick for loss of Valverde)

4. #61 over-all (The team's original pick)

Rule 5 Coverage

The Rule 5 Draft is scheduled for 8 a.m. Houston time on Thursday, the final day of baseball's winter meetings. Between dropping kids off at school and dropping my parents off at the train station, I will pass on information if the Astros gain or lose anyone in this draft.

Also, once Baseball America posts their Rule 5 eligible list, I will update the Farmstros list of Farmstros who are vulnerable.

Hooks/Express at Winter Meetings

Corpus Christi and Round Rock are teaming up to provide coverage of baseball's winter meetings from Indianapolis. Round Rock's Director of Promotions Clint Musselwhite filed this video on Hooks/Express television.

Also, "The Pen" a blog by Larry Little the Express Director of Communications is posting from the event.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Sadowski Also Signed and Invited

Thanks to Astros County for the heads up that Ryan Sadowski, RHP has signed a minor league contract and been invited to Houston's Major League Spring Training. Sadowski has spent his career in the Giants' organization.

Daigle NRI

RHP Casey Daigle has extended a non-roster invite so Houston's spring training. Daigle, who spent 2009 in Round Rock, is married to Olympic Softball pitcher Jennie Finch.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Valverde Offered Arbitration

According to a tweet from Alyson Footer, the Astros have offered arbitration only to Jose Valverde amongst their Type A & B free agents. (Tejada-A, Hawkins-A, and Brocail-B not offered arbitration.)

Arbitration Day Tuesday

Tuesday at 11 p.m. is the deadline for the Astros to decide whether to offer arbitration to Type A free agents Miguel Tejada, Jose Valverde and LaTroy Hawkins. This affects Farmstros as Bobby Heck and company could potentially gain up to six extra draft picks in 2010 depending on decisions made today.

Astros Andy at Crawfish Boxes offers this analysis of what Houston might do.