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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Greeneville Season Ends

The Greeneville Astros wrapped up their 2010 season with a win Tuesday night. The G'stros finished with a 31-35 record.

Here's link to AppyAstros recap of the G'stros season.

Shuck and Lyles Talk, Perhaps Barret Loux should Listen

More from StreetJL:

Shortly after the deadline had passed for teams to sign their 2010 draftees, it was announced that former Stratford High School and Texas A&M pitcher Barret Loux would become a free agent on September 1, 2010. Loux was on the Astros' draft board until being picked sixth overall by the Diamondbacks, and both Zach Levine and Brian McTaggart have reported that the Astros are at least doing their due diligence in considering whether or not to make an offer to Loux. It is fair to assume that the Astros are not the only team doing so.

While considering the possibility of the Astros signing Loux, and whether or not Loux would want to sign with the Astros, I was reminded of a couple of comments made by Jordan Lyles and J.B. Shuck during my interviews with them. Specifically, we were discussing how proactive the Astros have been over the last couple of seasons in moving young players quickly through the minor league system, and what it meant to them as players.

While Shuck spoke more about what it has meant to him personally to have had the opportunity to progress through the system rapidly, Lyles addressed what it means to new players coming into the system.

Shuck: “[Knowing that you will have an opportunity to progress rapidly through the system] means a lot. It gives you that hope that you’re not just going to sit in the minors. [The Astros] want to kind of move you up quickly and see if you can adjust at each level and succeed at each level. Hopefully I can keep showing that I can hit, and prove to them I can play, and hopefully it works to get moved up to the next level…”

Lyles: “…I think another good, positive thing that comes out of [the Astros being proactive in promoting players quickly through the system] is other guys getting into the organization a little bit after us they look and me and Shuck and see that [we] did it so it kind of makes them prepare, try to work harder […] and move up as quickly as they can.”

While these comments were not directed at Loux, they seem potentially relevant to the situation he now finds himself in. During Ed Wade’s tenure with the Astros, the team has shown that players will have an opportunity to progress quickly through the system based upon their play. Not only are Shuck and Lyles examples of this, but so are folks like Daniel Meszaros, J.D. Martinez and Dallas Keuchel, to name a few.

I haven’t a clue where Loux will end up signing, but hope that he’ll consider the opportunities that players like Shuck and Lyles have had in the Astros system, and their comments regarding these opportunities, when deciding which team he will sign with. As Shuck noted, knowing players will have this opportunity in the organization “means a lot” and “gives you hope.”
Having the opportunity to potentially sign Barret Loux tomorrow should give Astros fans some hope as well!

Astros of the Future coming to Dell Diamond in 2011?

Although it almost a certainty that the Astros' AAA affiliate won't be in Round Rock in 2011, Houston fans in Central Texas will likely have several opportunities to see the Astros of the Future first hand next season without driving to Corpus Christi. The Express, who appear headed towards a AAA affilation with the Rangers beginning this off-season, announced their 2011 schedule.
Oklahoma City and Nashville, two of the most likely landing spots for the AAA Astros next year, play eight games each next season at Dell Diamond.

April 23-26, Oklahoma City @ Round Rock
May 6-9, Nashville @ Round Rock
June 25-28, Oklahoma City @ Round Rock
June 30- July 3, Nashville @ Round Rock

Valley Cats Still in Play-off Chase

After winning their final home game in 14 innings Monday night, the Tri-City Valley Cats are one half game out of first place in the New York-Penn League's Stedler Division. Vermont leads the division with a 33-32 record. Tri-City is 34-34. Third place Connecticut is 34-35.

Remaining Games:

@Staten Island-3


vs. Aberdeen-3

Who's Going to Minute Maid Park

While the minor league season runs through Labor Day, tomorrow is the official day when major league roster expand to 40. It sounds like the Astros won't be bringing up many players in September, most of them have been called up already.

I have heard Ed Wade state that he prefers to bring up players only if there is a role for them to fill.

With that in mind, here is a quick look at some new faces who may be joining the squad:

Brian Bogusevic, 1B/OF. Bogusevic is on the 40-man roster. I don't see how the Astros can't call him up and give him some September at bats and time in the outfield.

Matt Downs, IF. Downs, recently picked up on waivers, may be called up to provide a bit of infield depth with Blum and Keppinger coming back from injuries.

A catcher? There has been discussion about the club possibly brining up a third catcher to relieve Castro and Quintero. However, the only other catcher on the 40-man roster is J.R. Towles, who is out for the season with injury. To add a catcher the team would need to move someone off of the 40-man roster, most likely Brian Moehler to the 60-day Disabled List. If they do that, the question becomes what catcher? The two Round Rock catchers are Brian Esposito (.228) and Edwin Bellorin

If the organization is set on having a third catcher, it would make more sense to bring up Federico Hernandez from Corpus Christi. Hernandez, 22, started the year in Lancaster where he batted .267 with eight HRs and 46 RBI in 84 games. He was promoted to Corpus Christi to replace Jonathon Fixler. For the Hooks, Hernandez is 11 for 39 with four doubles in 13 games. If anyone, he seems to be a catcher with a spot in the Astros' future.

I would be as tickled as any one if Jordan Lyles or J.B. Shuck got called up for a cup of coffee. However, since neither is on the 40-man roster, I can't envision another move to make room for them. If anything, it may be Lyles may get the call instead of a third catcher. However, I think the bears around Minute Maid Park are safe until sometime around June 2011.

Monday, August 30, 2010

An Interview with J.B. Shuck

StreetJL filed the following from his recent visit with J.B. Shuck in Portland:

It is not often that I get an opportunity to see Astros minor league baseball here in Portland, Oregon. In fact, the chance arises only four games every other season. It could be worse though, after all, at least I have minor league baseball in Portland, right? Well, as it turns out, it is going to be worse. Portland has traded minor league baseball for professional soccer, and as a result this will be the Portland Beavers last season here. It is really a shame too. PGE Park is a great venue to go watch a minor league game, and the Beavers personnel have always been top notch. Anyway, there is a point to all of this.

A couple of weeks ago Mike Tauser of Farmstros and I were discussing the upcoming Round Rock/Portland series here in town, and the recent promotion of Jordan Lyles and J.B. Shuck to Triple-A Round Rock. Since I had planned to attend the series, Mike and I thought it would be fun for Farmstros readers if he was able to arrange for me to interview Lyles and Shuck while they were here. I thought it was a long shot but told Mike I was game, and to make it happen if he could. As it turns out, he could, and did.

I’ll have a little more to say about the folks that helped out with the process later, but did want to thank Round Rock’s Larry Little and Erik Woody, as well as Portland’s Chris Metz, who helped put this opportunity together. A special thanks as well to Farmstros for making it happen.

So without additional delay, let’s get to the reason you’re reading this piece: J.B. Shuck. As you are aware, Shuck is a product of the first draft by Ed Wade and Bobby Heck during their tenure with the Astros. He was chosen in the 6th round of the 2008 draft from Ohio State. He began his professional career shortly after the draft in the New York-Penn League (Short-Season Low-A) as a Tri-City ValleyCat. On the season he was 79 of 263 with 51 runs, 23 doubles, 5 triples, 4 home runs and 24 runs batted in. His triple slash was .300/.385/.430. This earned him a promotion the following year, where he played High-A ball with the Lancaster JetHawks. In his first full season of professional ball, J.B. was 175 for 556 and scored 98 runs while hitting 30 doubles, 11 triples, a home run and 36 runs batted in with a triple-slash of .315/.389/.414. J.B. continued his rise through the system in this his second year of professional ball, beginning the season with the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks. Shuck went 116 for 389 for the Hooks, with 52 runs, 14 doubles, 2 triples, 2 home runs and 28 runs batted in. His triple-slash was .298/.372/.360. Late in the season he was called up to the Triple-A Round Rock Express, which is where he was when I met with him for this interview.

So without further rambling, I bring you some Q&A with J.B. Shuck, outfielder for the Round Rock Express.

Q: It’s been a quick two year ride for you.

A: It has. I got a chance to start in High-A last year for my first full season, and got to come to Double-A this year which was real exciting to start the year off. I was having a good year and was fortunate enough to get a call-up to Triple-A in my second full season.

Q: I think Astros fans were hoping for a lot out you when you were picked in the sixth round in ’08. [Q]uite frankly, you’ve exceeded expectations [to have moved through the system] this quickly, in this your second [full] year of pro ball. What do you attribute a lot of that too?

A: It starts with good coaching. We’ve got a lot of guys here in the organization that have really helped me out. And then, just the guys around me. They’ve helped me to work hard, to understand the game, and to kind of get an understanding of what I have to do to keep working hard and to keep moving up.

Q: Speaking of keep moving up, what are the things right now that you think you really need to work on to get to the next level? I mean, you are at the penultimate level [of professional baseball] right now, and the next is the major leagues. What are the things you really want from yourself, want to see from yourself, to get to the next level?

A: One big thing for me is [working on] baserunning. I haven’t really done it a whole lot this year. Started to lately, been more comfortable around the bases, and I just want to continue getting more comfortable on that. The other thing is just to work on my defense a little bit more. You know, it can never hurt to keep working on defense and hopefully get better and better each time.

Q: I think you’ve said before in a number of interviews that power is not your game. It’s getting out there, working hard, hustling, getting dirty. From what I’ve seen – I’ve managed to see the last three games – I’ve seen a lot of that. Anything more about your game, or is that a pretty good summary?

A: It is. That sums it up pretty good. You know, I don’t look to drive in a whole lot of runs, especially being in the top of the order. My goal is to score the runs. I want to get on base as many times as I can and it doesn’t matter how I get on. My biggest thing , when I look at the stats, is that I want to see a lot of runs in my stats. So, if I can do that I know I am doing my job, and know the guys behind me are doing their job.

Q: What has been the biggest difference adjusting from Double-A [to Triple-A]?

A: The big adjustment is getting used to this type of pitching. There are a lot of guys that are a little bit older and have been around, and know what they’re doing on the mound. You see in certain counts, in Double-A and in lower, we get fastballs. Now they’re throwing off-speeds in a count, and they can locate really well here. [The] biggest adjustment is just really trying to focus on getting a good pitch to hit and not chasing the pitcher’s pitch as much.

Q: Not many people get the chance to experience what you have so far at still a young age. Can you tell the folks out there how you’re handling success and failure when it comes to living your dream of playing professional baseball? You know, this sport as much as it is about […] success, it’s a lot about failure. How do you deal with that?

A: It’s very tough. That’s probably the hardest part of the game is knowing that a Hall of Fame hitter is a .300 hitter. He fails 7 times out of 10. It’s very hard to understand for awhile. I struggled with it through high school and college. Once I got to pro ball, the managers and the players around me that have been around for a little bit really kind of help you out and guide you. [They help] you to understand that you’re going to fail, but it is not how far you can go down, it is how you are going to recoop from that, and get back into it ,and understand you’re up there for a reason. You are going to succeed at some point, you just got to keep battling and keep working hard at it.

I wanted to add a final note about my interview. J.B. Shuck is a very engaging guy, and was great to interview. Having watched his progression through the system, though from afar, I was naturally pulling for him to continue to succeed and rise through the system. Having now had a brief glimpse into the person, as opposed to the ballplayer, I can honestly say I’m rooting for him even harder now. Thanks, J.B. for taking the time to speak with me and Farmstros readers. I enjoyed the opportunity, and trust Farmstros’ readers will enjoy reading your comments.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

GCL Astros Wrap up their Season

The Astros' Gulf Coast League affiliate became the second team in the organization to finish their season Sunday. The squad, which played its home games at Osceola County Stadium, finished their season at 20 and 36.

A few players to keep an eye on in 2011 from the GCL Astros:

Bryce Lane, 21, OF. Lane only played in eight games in the Gulf Coast League after being drafted in the 41st Round of the 2010 draft. In August, he was called up to Lancaster to fill a spot which opened up due to injury. As of this post, he is batting .360 for Lancaster. It will be interesting to see where he ends up to begin the 2011 season.

Dieudone Paul, 22, LHP. Paul made 13 relief appearances in Florida. He pitched 33 2/3 innings, striking out 39 and posting a 1.60 ERA.

Jose Perdomo, 18, RHP. Perdomo made 11 starts in the Gulf Coast League. He had a 1.67 ERA with 69 strikeouts in 59 1/3 IP.

Ebert Rosario, 23, RHP. After several seasons as an infielder, Rosario is making the switch to pitcher. After a rough first outing. He posted a 1.74 ERA with 11 strikeouts in 10 1/3 IP.

Jordan Scott, 18, OF. The Astros' 14th Round Pick in 2010, Scott ended the season with a .301 average. He scored 19 runs and stole six bases in 42 games.

Matison Smith, 22, RHP. Smith, who signed as an undrafted free agent this summer, finished with a 1.59 ERA in 34 IP.

Here's a link to AppyAstros wrap up of the GCL season.

Nash Greeneville's MVP

Outfielder Telvin Nash was named the MVP of the Greeneville Astros prior to the club's final home game Saturday night. Nash, selected in the third round of the 2009 draft led the Astros with 36 RBI and was tied for the team lead with 11 home runs. Also, Marcus Nidiffer was honored with the club's Oscar Padron Award for great character on and off the field. Nidiffer, who began the season with Greeneville and was selected to the Appalachian League All-Star team, is currently playing for Tri-City.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Shuck, Lyles interview posting Scheduled

StreetJL has been hard at work putting together the results of his interviews with JB Shuck and Jordan Lyles in Portland. The tentative schedule to post his work is as follows:

August 30- JB Shuck Part I
August 31- Comments from Shuck and Lyles about their fast rise through the Astros' system. (Lyles is scheduled to start in Omaha on this day.)
September 1- Jordan Lyles Part I
September 2- Jordan Lyles Part II

Farmstros Five Week 22, Five Days, Five Players, You Make the Call

While Week 21 of the season is just getting started, here is a quick preview of what is planned for Week 22 from September 2-6. Since Week 22 will mark the end of the 2010 minor league season, Farmstros will be putting the final Farmstros Five in your hands every day. Starting the morning of September 3, I will be highlighting the top 3-6 performances in the organization the previous day. You will be given about 12 hours to select from those 3-6 players THE PERFORMANCE OF THE DAY. Over the course of the season's final five days, you will select the final Farmstros Five of the season. Be sure to start voting on September 3.

Play-off Race Update

Tri-City is 1/2 game behind Stedler Division leader Vermont heading into play Friday. Tri-City is 32 and 32 with 10 games remaining.

Lancaster is still 2 games out in fourth place in the California League South Division's Second Half Standings. The JetHawks are 29 and 30 with 11 games to go.

THE QUEST FOR 3000 passes 2800 SYLLABLES

Jose Perdomo
Ends season on a high note
Seven scoreless frames

This haiku about an excellent pitching performance in Florida on Wednesday. Took THE QUEST FOR 3000 SYLLALBES past 2800. With less than two weeks remaining in the season, THE QUEST is 12 haiku from its conclusion.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Two Greeneville All-Stars

Thanks to AppyAstros on Twitter who passed on information that 2010 Draft Pick Chris Wallace and Undrafted Free Agent Marcus Nidiffer have been named to the Appalachian League All-Star team. Both players are actually playing with Tri-City now after starting the season in Greeneville.

Velasquez Shut Down

Astros County reports that Zach Levine reports that Greeneville' s Vincent Velasquez is being shut down with elbow issues until Monday when he will see an Astros' doctor. Since Greeneville's season ends Tuesday, that would seem to be the end of Velasquez's season.

2010 Farmstros Five- Week 20

I definitely picked a good week to resume the Farmstros Five. After two weeks' hiatus, the week of August 19-25 was full of top performanaces:

The Farmstros Five for the week of August 19-25:

The Top Performers:

Robert Donovan, 22, RHP; Edwin Walker, 26, LHP; David Berner, 23, LHP; David Carepenter, 25, RHP; Jose Trinidad, 23, RHP, Lancaster. In the thick of a California League play-off chase, these five pitchers combined over 10 innings to pitch the first no-hitter in JetHawks' history.

The Other Four:

Elias DeLeon, 20, LHP, DSL Astros. DeLeon saved the best for last in the Dominican. He was the last pitcher in the DSL Astros last game of the season. He allowed one hit and no runs striking out nine over five innings.

Jio Mier, 20, IF, Lexington. Mier's bat is waking up late in the season. For the week, he was 11 for 26 with four multiple-hit games, four doubles and three RBI. Also, today is Mier's birthday.

DeLino DeShields, 18, 2B, Greeneville. The Astros' most recent first round pick was 11 for 28 on the week with four doubles and three RBI.

Bryce Lance, 21, OF, GCL Astros/Lancaster. After going 3 for 4 with a double in one Gulf Coast League, Lane jumped to High A Lancaster for injury replacement reasons. For the JetHawks, the 2010 draft pick was 6 for 19 with three doubles, one home run and four RBI.

NOTE: I will be doing a traditional Farmtsros Five for Week 21- August 26-
September 1. Keep your eyes open for details on Farmstros Five- Week 22: Five Days, Five Players, You Make the Call.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Rosario adjusting to the Mound

Ebert Rosario made his sixth appearance as a pitcher for the GCL Astros Tuesday, pitching one scoreless inning. He has a 7.56 ERA through those six appearances; however, that ERA doesn't tell the whole story. Rosario began the year as an infielder with Lancaster before the organization requested that he switch to pitching. In his first appearance in Florida, he retired only one batter giving up four hits, five runs and one walk. Since that outing, Rosario has settled in pitching eight innings in five games, allowing four hits, two runs and one walk. He has a 2.25 ERA during that time with eight strikeouts.

Play-off Races in New York, California

With just two weeks left in the season, the Astros' affiliates on the East and West coasts are in the thick of a pennant race.

Lancaster is 26-28 in fourth place in second half standings for the South Division of the California League. However, the JetHawks are just two games behind the three teams tied for first in the South, High Desert, Lake Elsinore, and Ranch Cucamonga. Lancaster has 14 games remaining, eight against Rancho Cucamonga and six against Lake Elsinore.

Tri-City is 31-30, trailing Vermont by one game in the New York-Penn League's Stedler Division. The Valley Cats have 13 games left wrapping up Sunday, September 5.

Subber10 on the DSL Astros

Subber10 at THE CRAWFISH BOXES has posted this wrap-up of the Astros first season in their new Dominican facility.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Jordan Lyles Interview?

I just got off the phone with StreetJL in Portland about his interviews with Lyles, Shuck and Hooton and some other video. It is still in production. It sounds like it is going to be worth the wait.

Hooks to Still Host Farmstros

While it has become clear that Round Rock will no longer be an Astros affiliate in 2011, the other franchise owned by the Ryan Sanders Group, Corpus Christi has agreed to stay on board through 2016. The Hooks and Astros extended their Player Development agreement another four years beyond the current agreement which ran through 2012.

The Texas Rangers aren't in the market for a AA affiliate as they own the Frisco franchise which is right in their backyard.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

DSL Astros Wrap Up

Since the Dominican Astros season concluded yesterday, I was thinking of doing a little wrap up on their season, and maybe highlighting a few of their top players who might be playing stateside in 2011 (GCL Astros of Greeneville). However, rather than reinventing the wheel, I'll just send you to an Appy Astros post that covers exactly what I was thinking of concerning the DSL season.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

More from Ed Wade's Travel Agent Re: Eastern Time Zone

Mr. Wade,

I just saw the three Eastern time zone destinations from your request. The second sheet of paper was left on the printer. I didn't think much of the Eastern time zone not appearing on your list of possible travel for 2011 since Houston's general managers haven't been to the Eastern time zone to see AAA players at all since
1979. I had to dig through our files a bit to see that the Charleston (W. Va.) Charlies were on the AAA itinerary from 1977-79. A young pitcher named Dave Smith was of much interest back in 1979.

Anyhow, enough about history here is the report on the remaining destinations you inquired about:

Charlotte (CLT) $598- 2.5 hour flight (White Sox affiliate since 1999)
Pawtucket (PVD) $107- 5.5 hour flight with stops (Red Sox affiliate since 1973)
Syracuse (SYR) $93- 5.5 hour flight with stops (Nationals affiliate since 2009)

I'm not Ed Wade's Travel Agent, but I'll Play Him on the Internet

Mr. Wade,

At your request, I have compiled some preliminary data on some of the cities you may be traveling to with regularity during the 2011 baseball season. As specified, I have included the price of a one-way ticket on Continental Airlines from each city to Houston's IAH on September 1, 2010. I have also included additional information about each city where it seems to be relevant to the parameters of your request. Please contact me if you need further information.

Your Travel Agent on the Internet
Follow the Astros of the Future with us

Nashville (BNA) $265- 2 hour flight (Brewers affiliate since 2005) My wife and I visited Nashville a few years ago and it is a wonderful destination. However, two avid Astro bloggers reside in the Nashville area, so I would recommend keeping an eye out so that you can avoid them whenever you go to Herschel Greer Stadium.

Oklahoma City (OKC) $286- 1.5 hour flight (Rangers affiliate since 1983) There may be a few friendly faces in town, as OKC served as the Astros first AAA affiliate from 1962-72; however, rumblings are that the Red Hawks aren't that impressed with what you are doing right now.

Portland (PDX) $564- 4 hour flight (Padres affiliate since 2001) There is another blogger in Portland who would be very excited if you were visiting his town often. However, as you know this Portland destination is moving after the season. (probably somewhere in California)

Las Vegas (LAS) $258- 3 hour flight (Blue Jays affiliate since 2009) Flights to Vegas were the cheapest of all non-stop options. However, I'm sure the Blue Jays general manager can tell you that he only visits there now because he ended up with the short stick in 2008.

Albuquerque (ABQ) $355- 2 hour flight (Dodgers affiliate since 2009)
Colorado Springs (COS) $310- 2 hour flight (Rockies affiliate since 1993)
Omaha (OMA) $446- 2.5 hour flight (Royals affiliate since 1969)
Reno (RNO) $144- 6 hour flight with stops (Diamondbacks affiliate since 2009)
Sacramento (SMF) $534- 3.5 hour flight (Athletics affiliate since 2000)

DSL Astros end Season with a Rain Out

The final game of the Dominican Astros season was rained out Saturday. The club ends their season with a 26-43 record.

Yordany the Pitcher, one batter, one strikeout

Yordany Ramirez, who used to patrol centerfield for Round Rock, made his pitching debut for Lexington Friday night. He struck out the first batter he faced in the 7th inning. However, the next three hitters doubled, walked and walked before Ramirez was relieved. None of the batters Ramirez faced scored, so his ERA is 0.00 after 1/3 inning pitched.

See Next Year's Express in Round Rock today

The Round Rock Express start a four-game series with Oklahoma City at Dell Diamond Saturday night. While it is scheduled to be Jordan Lyles' third AAA start, the big news is that Round Rock fans will have a chance to preview some of the 2011 Round Rock roster, who are currently playing for the visiting Red Hawks.

I'm not breaking any new news here, but Avery Holton posted an article for the Austin American Statesman that confirms that Round Rock's switch to affiliation with Texas after this season is a done deal. Oklahoma City is currently the Rangers' AAA team, so many players with the Red Hawks will play at Dell Diamond starting next April.

Personally, it was great to see an article from Holton. He was the Media Relations director at Round Rock through last season. He has been a great help with this blog on numerous occasions.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Not so Fast with Those Golf Clubs

It appears that I may have put the grave stone on the minor league season a bit too hastily. A few weeks ago, I indicated that the play-offs were not possible for any of the Astros' affiliates. Admittedly, I didn't look at all of the standings, I incorrectly assumed that a record right around .500 meant no play-offs.

Well, I am happy to announce that I was wrong: the JetHawks and Valley Cats are in the thick of a pennant race.

In the California League's second half, Lancaster is 25 and 27. However, with 18 games left, they are only three games out of first place.

In the New York Penn League, Tri-City is 29 and 29. They are in second place 1 1/2 games out with 18 to play.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

An interview with Jordan Lyles

I just got a phone message from StreetJL in Portland. He interviewed Jordan Lyles, JB Shuck and Burt Hooton for Farmstros prior to tonight's Round Rock- Portland. I don't have a timeline, but he is working on getting the audio to me as soon as he can. He also has some pictures and video from Lyles' start in Tacoma Monday night.

Thanks to StreetJL who went the extra mile(s) to Follow the Astros of the Future in the Northwest. Also, thanks to RR's Larry Little and Erik (not Ed, my mistake) Woody and Portland's Chris Metz who helped put this opportunity together.

Stay tuned

Q & A with David Carpenter

I just came across this Q & A from Future Redbirds with David Carpenter, the pitcher who the Astros picked up today in return for Pedro Feliz. I thought it was a bit odd to see that the Astros were receiving a pitcher who had been drafted in 2006 and had only progressed to High A ball. However, according to this Q & A, the Cardinals have converted him to pitching after his started out as a catcher. He didn't pitch professionally until last year in Low A Quad Cities.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Farmstros Five to return (tentatively) August 26

After two weeks away from scouring the boxscores, I plan to get back at it starting tomorrow. I have penciled in Farmstros Five- Week 20 to be posted sometime on August 26, covering play from 8/19-25.

...and the Past

Appy Astros also took a look back at 2008, when Jordan Lyles was in Greeneville

Appy Astros, Following the G'stros of the Future...

With the DSL Astros wrapping up Saturday, Appy Astros has a post on six players currently in the Dominican who may be in Greeneville or at least the GCL Astros in 2011.

See Jordan Pitch. Pitch, Jordan, Pitch

StreetJL made the trip from Portland up to Tacoma Monday night to see Jordan Lyles make his second AAA start. He has posted five pictures of the 19-year old pitching at Cheney Stadium.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

DSL Astros Wrap up this Week

The Astros Dominican Republic squad is in the final week of their summer season. The team (24-41) has five games remaining concluding on Sunday, August 21.

2010 Draft Class

1A- Delino DeShields, Jr., 2B, HS (Georgia), Signed, Lexington
1B- Mike Foltynewicz, RHP, HS (Illinois),Signed, Lexington
1supp.- Mike Kvasnicka, 3B, Minnesota, Signed, Lexington

Watch video of the top three picks

2- Vincent Velasquez, RHP, HS (California), Signed, Extended Spring
3- Austin Wates, OF, Virginia Tech, Signed, Corpus Christi
4- Robert Doran, RHP, Texas Tech, Signed, Lancaster
5- Ben Heath, C, Penn State, Signed, Lancaster
6- Adam Plutko, RHP, HS (California), Unsigned
7- Roberto Pena, C, HS (Puerto Rico), Signed, Lexington
8- Jake Buchanan, RHP, N.C. St. Signed, Corpus Christi
9- Thomas Shirley, LHP, Xavier, Ohio, Signed, Extended Spring
10- Evan Grills, LHP, HS (Ontario), Signed, Lexington
11- Kyle Redinger, 3B, HS (Pennsylvania), Signed, Extended Spring-Disabled
12- James Robinson, RHP, Georgia Tech, Signed, Lancaster
13- Davis Duren, 2B, Oklahoma St., Unsigned
14- Jordan Scott, OF, HS (South Carolina), Signed, Lexington
15- Jamaine Cotton, RHP, W. Okla. St. College, Signed, Extended Spring
16- Christopher Wallace, C, Houston, Signed, Corpus Christi
17- Tyler Burnett, 3B, Mid. Tenn. St., Signed, Released
18- Joshua Magee, 2B, HS (Alabama), Signed, Extended Spring
19- Jacoby Jones, SS, HS (Mississippi), Unsigned
20- Daniel Adamson, OF, Jacksonville St., Signed, Released
21- Aaron Blair, RHP, HS (Nevada), Unsigned
22- Zachary Dygert, C, Ball St., Unsigned
23- Adam Bailey, OF, Nebraska, Signed, Corpus Christi
24- Adam Champion, LHP, Ark.-Little Rock, Signed, Released
25- Rodney Quintero, RHP, Chipola JUCO, Signed, Extended Spring
26- Alexander Sogard, LHP, N.C. St., Signed, Corpus Christi
27- Jacke Healey, SS, Youngstown St., Signed, Retired
28- Jason Chowning, RHP, Oklahoma, Signed, Lancaster
29- Broughan Jantz, OF, HS (California), Unsigned
30- Kellen Killsgaard, OF, Stanford, Signed, Released

Brian McTaggart's Recap of Rounds 2-30

31- Travis Blankenship, LHP, Kansas, Signed, Released
32- Will Chrismon, RHP, HS (Virginia), Unsigned
33- Michael Ness, RHP, Duke, Signed, Released
34- Ryan Cole, RHP, St. John's, Signed, Released
35- Esteban Gomez, 1B, HS (New York), Unsigned
36- Ryan Halstead, RHP, HS (California), Unsigned
37- Brian Streilein, RHP, Villanova, Signed, Lancaster
38- Ryan Ford, 1B, HS (Texas), Unsigned
39- Krishawn Holley, RHP, HS (South Carolina), Signed, Extended Spring
40- Jeremiah Meiners, LHP, Francis Marion University, Signed, Extended Spring
41- Bryce Lane, OF, Gulf Coast CC, Signed, Released
42- Paul Gerrish, RHP, TCU, Signed, Released
43- DeMarcus Henderson, SS, HS (Mississippi), Unsigned
44- Alexis Garza, LHP, HS (Texas), Unsigned
45- Ian Vazquez, SS, HS (Pennsylvania), Unsigned
46- Lawrence Pardo, LHP, HS (Florida), Unsigned
47- Joseph Carcone, SS, HS (New York), Unsigned
48- T.J. Pecoraro, RHP, HS (New York), Unsigned

49- Kenny Diaz, C, HS (Puerto Rico), Signed, Extended Spring
50- David Donald, OF, HS (South Carolina), Unsigned


Ryan Ditthardt, 1B, Troy University, Released
Austin Lucas, RHP, Jacksonville St., Released
Ryan McCurdy, C, Duke, Corpus Christi
Jonathon Merritt, SS, UAB, Extended Spring
Marcus Nidiffer, IF, Kentucky, Released
Matison Smith, RHP, Lamar, Released
Rafael Valenzuela, SS, Arizona, Lancaster

Monday, August 16, 2010

Monday Night with Capps Trivia Contest Prize

I just received a Facebook message from Jordan Lyles. He has agreed to send an autographed baseball to the winner of tonight's trivia contest winner during tonight's Monday Night with Capps event (#MNWCapps). Thanks, Jordan!

18 Hours until Monday Night with Capps (and Lyles)

It is only 18 hours until Jordan Lyles makes his second AAA start in Tacoma. The start will be the centerpiece of Farmstros' final game listening/Twitter Experience of the season. Please follow Farmstros twitter feed and listen to Mike Capps broadcast of the game, which is accessible through the Round Rock Express website.

Highlights planned for the event (Please hashtag your tweets #MNWCapps for ease of communication):

Pending: StreetJL is making every effort to be at the game with a press pass and a computer covering the game for Farmstros.

THE QUEST FOR 3000 SYLLABLES will be passing 2500 syllables in the first three innings

I will be also creating a haiku for THE QUEST based on a "live" suggestion from Zach Levine (Levine has actually already sent me the suggestion, but I have not read it yet, I promise.)

New TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME link during the 7th inning stretch

Jordan Lyles-themed trivia contest

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Challenging First Inning Likely for Lyles Monday Night

Jordan Lyles is slated to make his second AAA start Monday night in Tacoma at 9 p.m. Houston time. Two of the first three batters Lyles will likely face in the contest were first round picks in the 2009 and 2008 drafts.

Tacoma's second baseman and lead-off hitter Dustin Ackley was selected second over-all by Seattle in 2009 (right after Stephen Strasburg). He started the season with AA Western Tennesse. He is batting .283 in 30 games since being promoted to Tacoma.

The Rainiers' #3 hitter is 1B Justin Smoak. The Mariners acquired Smoak from Rangers in the Cliff Lee trade. The Rangers picked him #11 over-all in the 2008 draft, right after Houston Astro Jason Castro. Smoak is batting .243 with six home runs in 29 games since joining the Seattle organization.

Two more Tacoma players were rated among the organization's top 30 prospects by Baseball America prior to this season.

Prospect #10 OF Greg Hallman has been hitting in the 7 spot. He is batting .249 with a team-leading 27 HRs and 66 RBI.

Prospect #23 1B Mike Carp hits in the middle of the order. He is hitting .244 with 20 home runs.

Lyles mound opponent Monday night will be LHP Ryan Feierabend. Feierabend, 24, who made 38 starts for Seattle between 2006-08, has a 5.23 in 12 starts for Tacoma this season.

NOTE: According to the Tacoma website, Michael Pineda is replacing Ryan Feierabend on the mound. Pineda, a 21 year old right-hander was the club's #7 rated prospect. He has a 3.67 ERA in nine starts for Tacoma. A Dominican Republic native, Pineda started this season in AA Western Tennessee with Ackley.

Somebody Visited Lancaster and all you got was this Blog Post

I got an email from a Dodger fan who made the trip to Lancaster to see Inland Empire (the Dodgers affiliate) take on Lancaster. He filed a report on the trip on his blog. Obviously, he has a Dodger slant, but he includes some good photos of the Clear Channel Stadium Experience.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Nidiffer Homers, Nidiffer Homers, Nidiffer...grounds out and then Doubles

One night after Lexington newcomer Ben Heath homered in three straight at bats, one of Tri-City's newest additions, Marcus Nidiffer did his best to keep up. Nidiffer homered in his first two at bats Saturday night before grounding out. He followed the ground out up with a ground rule double, so he did get the ball over the fence in three of four at bats. Nidiffer, who was signed as an undrafted free agent this summer, was playing in only his second game for the Valley Cats since being promoted from Greeneville. He ended the game with five RBI.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Heath homers, Heath homers, Heath homers

2010 Draft Pick Ben Heath homered in three straight at bats for Lexington Friday night. Heath, from Penn St., was promoted to Lexington less than a week ago after starting his professional career in Tri-City. Heath had seven RBI with his three blasts.

Rojo Johnson Returns on ABC/ESPN Saturday

The Round Rock Express are reporting that Rojo Johnson will be on ABC/ESPN Saturday. The May Express promotion will be featured on WINNERS BRACKET on ABC at 3 pm Houston time and on ESPN2at 5 p.m. and midnight. I've never seen this show to know how it is formatted so please check your local listings.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Round Rock's Miller gets promoted

Thanks to Astros County for this information. Jay Miller, who is the COO of the Round Rock Express as well as an owner in the Ryan Sanders group which owns the Express and Hooks will reportedly be leaving the Express on August 30 and becoming an Executive Vice President for the Texas Rangers and their new ownership group. Miller has been a central figure in the growth of the Round Rock franchise in Central Texas. He was the franchise's first vice president and general manager. This additional Round Rock connection in Arlington increases my thoughts that Round Rock's days as a Houston affiliate are numbered.

In spite of this, Congratulations to Jay.

Astros County Transaction Link

For those of you who like keeping up with the Astros' transactions, here is a link to Astros County's transactions posts. He does a good job of knowing who is going where. I'll also include a link in the favorites section.

The Astros first pick in the draft Delino DeShields made his debut yesterday. He led off as the DH for the GCL team. He went 0 for 5. This picture was taken by Scott Jones and was tweeted by "MinorLeagues". My understanding is that DeShields will be heading to Greeneville soon for the last few weeks of their season.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Monday Night with Capps coming August 16 from Tacoma

Farmstros will be hosting its final Game Listening/Twitter Experience of the 2010 season Monday, August 16 during the Round Rock/Tacoma game at 9 p.m. The event will be titled MONDAY NIGHT WITH CAPPS and all tweets related to the event will be hashtagged #MNWCAPPS. A few highlights planned for the night, while we listen to Mike Capps call the game for the Express:

THE QUEST FOR 3000 SYLLABLES will pass 2500 syllables. One haiku during the game is tentatively scheduled to be based on a suggestion from Zach Levine (The Scorer). I will be tweeting at least three new haiku during the game.

No guarantees, but the Express game notes Wednesday night, show Jordan Lyles to be pitching on Monday night. Also, I am working on having a correspondent credentialed for the game.

A brand new version of TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME during the 7th inning stretch.

A trivia question. I am all out of prizes/magnets for the season, so this one will just be for honor.

Search for #MNWCAPPS on Twitter on August 16 and join the experience.

Free Tickets anyone?

I've ended up with two free tickets to Friday's Astros' game vs. Pittsburgh. There in the upper deck. Email me if you are interested.

New Tweets from Greeneville

AppyAstros started tweeting today from Greeneville. The guy behind this Twitter stream was one of my main sources of information when I started doing Farmstros three years ago. (Some of you may know him as Duman) If you are interested in information on the lower minors (especially Greeneville), you need to follow his tweets.

I am looking forward to following AppyAstros.

NOTE: More good news from Greeneville. AppyAstros is also available in blog form.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Watch Jordan Lyles' AAA debut

Jordan Lyles' debut with Round Rock will be available on tonight at 7:05 p.m. (Houston time). There is a subscription fee involved. Round Rock will be playing Sacramento (Oakland's affiliate) at Dell Diamond.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Why Don't You Act Your Age (Not Your Shoe Size)

Jose Altuve July Player of the Month

Congratulations to Lancaster infielder Jose Altuve who has been voted the Farmstros Player of the month. Altuve, who spent the month of July with Lexington before being called up to Lancaster on the 30, received 17 of a total 54 votes. Round Rock's Brian Bogusevic received 10 votes. Others with more than five votes: Greeneville's Chris Wallace-8; Corpus Christi's Jon Gaston-7; Lancaster/Corpus Christi's Albert Cartwright-6.

Quintero Signs

According to this article, 25th Round pick Rodney Quintero, pitcher has signed with the Astros. Quintero, who played for Chipola JUCO this season, will report to Greeneville.

Dell Diamond- Getting Ranger Ready?

For the second time in three weekends, I was able to go to Round Rock to take in an Express game. The lead story in the Round Rock Leader's sports section Saturday was Nolan Ryan's purchase of the Texas Rangers. The paper's sports editor Jon Garrett explored the consequences of this purchase for the Express and their affiliation with the Astros. Reid Ryan, the Round Rock Founder and CEO told Sherman that they "have to wait until September 6 (when the Express season ends)" to start talking about new affiliations.

I found it interesting that every time I was in the Round Rock press box, the largest television was showing a Ranger game. The Astros' game was on a smaller screen if it was viewable at all. Given the family connections, Round Rock's proximity to Arlington and the low quality of on-field product that Houston offers a AAA franchise, I will be surprised if Texas and Round Rock don't sign a Player Development agreement after this season.

If this happens, the next question is where will the Astros go. Thanks to Astros County for the post about Bernardo Fallas' article, which discusses Oklahoma City, the Rangers' current AAA home as a logical landing spot for Houston.

By the way, Corpus Christi and the Astros have a player development agreement through 2012.

Astros' July Players of the Month

While voting winds down on the Farmstros July Player of the Month, here is a link to the Astros' official July Player of the Month Release.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

July Farm Report Available

In case you didn't read Farmstros' July Farm Report at Astros Daily, it is available here in its entirety.

Two Valley Cats are all-stars

Tri-City infielders Tyler Burnett and Ben Orloff have been named to the National League roster for New York-Penn League All-Star Game. The duo will represent Tri-City August 17 at Staten Island.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Lyles Headed to Round Rock

Zach Levine definitely picked the right time to go to Corpus Christi. He was there yesterday when all the suspension came down. Now, he is there tonight when Jordan Lyles gets promoted to Round Rock. Lyles pitched tonight for Corpus Christi, which would seem to put him in line to pitch Tuesday night at Dell Diamond against Sacramento.

Shuck on the Astros (website) had a story about Round Rock OF J.B. Shuck.

2010 Farmstros Five- Week 17

Since all the teams in the system are gone from any pennant contention, I am foregoing the team results portion of this feature.

The Farmstros Five for the week of July 29-August 4, 2010:

The Top Performer:

Jonathan Villar, IF, Lancaster. Villar was obtained from Philadelphia in the Roy Oswalt trade. The Astros promoted him to High A Lancaster. In his first week there, he went 7 for 17 with three doubles and five RBI.

The Other Four:

Jake Buchanan, P, Tri-City. In one start, Buchanan threw six scoreless innings allowing two hits and striking out three.

Jacob Goebbert, OF, Lexington. Goebbert was 11 for 25 with four doubles, one home run and nine RBI.

Michael Affronti, IF, Corpus Christi. Affronti was 10 for 24 with one double, one triple and seven RBI.

Kody Hinze, 1B, Lexington. Hinze jumped back on the radar this week going 10 for 26 with five doubles, two home runs and six RBI.

NOTE: Due to numerous factors, I will be suspending the Farmstros Five. It takes quite a bit of time to accumulate all the statisitics and go through them every week. This is exacerbated by my slow computer. I don't have the time to do it for a while, and will be scaling back Farmstros in general. My number one priority with the site is to complete THE QUEST FOR 3000 SYLLABLES and turn it into a book after Labor Day. I will attempt to keep the database updated. Other than that, posting will be at a minimum.

Thanks for your following.

Farm Report up at Astros Daily

My July Farm Report has been posted at Astros Daily. Thanks to the folks over there for updating the information on Fixler and DeShields which was unknown to me when I submitted the article.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Four Suspended

Word from Zach Levine at as well as other sources is that four Astros prospects are being suspended for 50 for use of performance enhancing drugs.

The four:

Jon Fixler, C, Corpus Christi
Richard Rodriguez, P, DSL Astros
Dan Meszaros, P, Round Rock
Marco Cabral, IF, Corpus Christi

Astros, DeShields Agree is reporting that the Astros and 1st Round Draft Pick Delino DeShields have agreed on terms for a contract.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Levine's Minor League Notebook

Zach Levine has posted his minor league notebook at Most of the article is about Yordany Ramirez moving to pitcher.

Monday, August 2, 2010

2010 Farmstros Five- Week 16

Hey, I just got the Farmstros Five from Street JL for Week 16. Here it is full with the tale behind the tardiness.

2010 Farmstros Five- Week 16

Before getting to the Week 16 edition of Farmstros Five please allow me to first apologize to Farmstros and his readers for this ridiculously late posting. Personal matters, and entirely too much time spent following the trade rumors and trades set me back farther than expected. In the grand scheme of things, that day or two would probably have been palatable… but… then there was Friday afternoon, Saturday, Sunday, and most of Monday. Poor form indeed. Hopefully my blunder will serve as a reminder to the rest of you to make sure you have not shut down your personal email for the weekend until you are sure last minute emails WERE ACTUALLY SENT – I know it has for me!

Now with my groveling for forgiveness out of the way, on to the Farmstros Five for the week of July 22 – 28, 2010:

RJ Alaniz, 19, RHP, Greeneville: Alaniz has been a tale of two pitchers thus far this season. His first two starts were as good as his second two were bad. Fortunately, Alaniz dropped the Mr. Hyde persona and instead appeared in Dr. Jekyll form for Week 16. Alaniz received a win and a no-decision over two starts and posted a line worthy of the top spot in the Farmstros Five: 10.0 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 13 SO. The question now is which persona will RJ don during Week 17?

And the rest:

Michael Kvasnicka, 21, C/3B/OF, Tri-City. It was a white-hot start for the 33rd overall pick in the 2010 draft – a home run in his first pro at bat – but things cooled down quickly for him thereafter. Kvasnicka has been looking much better at the plate as of late though, and would have earned himself the Farmstros Five top spot with his 10-21, 2 2B, HR, 3 R, 6 RBI, 2 BB, 3 SO Week 16 performance but for the single game 0 R, 1 BB, 10 SO performance by Alaniz.

Danilo Del Rio, 19, RHP, GCL Astros: It has not been the most stellar of seasons thus far for the 19 year-old Columbian, but it certainly was a good week. Del Rio made two starts during Week 16, earning a win and a no-decision for a line of 14.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB and 10 SO.

Jonathan Gaston, 23, OF, Corpus Christi: maybe it was the additional of JD Martinez to the Hooks lineup that lit a fire under him, or maybe it was just time that he started heating things up at the dish. Either way, the month of July has been good to Jonathan Gaston. Week 16 was no exception, with Gaston going 11-28 with 5 R, 2B, 2 3B, 4 RBI, 2 BB and 10 SO. While the 10 strikeouts and relatively low power numbers may have put him behind some of the other Farmstros performances, his 3-run triple in the Hooks’ July 26 come from behind deal solidified his spot in the Week 16 Farmstros Five.

Albert Cartwright, 22, 2B, Lancaster: Sometimes it takes a full week of outstanding performances for a position player to make the Farmstros Five, and sometimes it takes just a single game. The latter was the case for Cartwright who went 3-4 with 3 R, 3 3B, RBI, BB and a SO against Visalia pitching on July 28. Say what you will, but three triples in a 9-inning game seems worthy of a Farmstros Five spot any time to me.

And there you have it folks, the Farmstros Five for Week 16. Also, lest my introductory plea was not enough, my apologies again to you and Farmstros for my tardiness. It won’t happen again (TM -Cecil Cooper), though hopefully not because Farmstros decides to nix me from pinch-hitting duties…

Sunday, August 1, 2010


As this is Farmstros last Game Listening/Twitter Experience of the season, a little fireworks show of thanks. I appreciate those who joined in the experiment/experience.

Star Spangled Banner

Take Me out to the ballgame