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Monday, February 28, 2011

Six Farmstros Batted Today

At least six minor league batters made the trip to Orlando today for the Astros Spring Training Opener.

T.J. Steele went 2 for 2 after hyper-extending his elbow diving for a fly ball.

J.B. Shuck was 1 for 1.

Drew Locke was 0 for 2.

Jio Mier, Jimmy Paredes and Jonathan Meyer were 0 for 1. I hadn't seen Meyer on the mini-camp roster and was surprised that he was already in Florida.

More on Lyles from the Palmetto State

Another paper in South Carolina is talking about Jordan Lyles.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Campbell Finds the Minor League Fields

Steve Campbell posted this from Florida on As best I can tell, this was Campbell's first work from Spring Training about minor league players.

Looking for a Picture of Drew Locke

Since he is on deck to post for Farmstros about his Spring Training experience, I have been scouring the manistream media for a picture of Drew Locke in Kissimmee. This search has proven to be fruitless thus far. With games starting tomorrow, I will give 50 FARMSTROS BUCKS to anyone who can provide me a picture of Locke which I can use on the blog in conjunction with his posts. I would prefer something from this Spring, but given the depressed value of the FARMSTRO BUCK in today's economy, I am not too picky. Please contact me at

The Crushers win the Pennant!

Dave Clark has the inside track on the Astros February Manager of the Month award after leading his Crushers to a 5-1 victory over Bobby Meacham's squad in today's intra-squad game. Koby Clemens led the Crushers with a 3 for 3 day. He homered off of Jorge DeLeon and had two RBI. J.B. Shuck was also 3 for 3 with a triple for Meacham's team.

Brian McTaggart just posted his recap of the contest.

Clark's Crushers vs. Meacham's Mashers

Brian McTaggart tweeted the lineups for today's six-inning intra-squad game in Kissimmee. T.J. Steele (Clark) and J.B. Shuck (Meacham) are listed as centerfielders in the lead-off spots for the two squads.

Additionally, McTaggart has the pitching lineups for the game as well as more Farmstros pictures (Telvin Nash, twice and Ben Heath among others) in his latest blog post.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Pitching Lineups and Pictures of Minor Leaguers

Zach Levine has posted the pitchers scheduled to pitch in the first three days of spring games.

Also, Karen Warren's photo gallery from Friday at has a Farmstros bent to it. Five of the first seven images are of minor leaguers. (if you count OKC pitching coach Burt Hooton) Two of these pictures include five or six players identified simply as "minor leaguers". I am not familiar enough with what players look like to do an identification.

Friday, February 25, 2011

McTaggart Photographs a Bunch of Famstros

Brian McTaggart has a bevy of Farmstros pictured in his blog today. Keep your eyes open for Delino DeShields, Jonathan Villar, J.B. Shuck, T.J. Steele, Jon Gaston, Doug Arguello and more.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Intra-Squad Rosters

This information comes from Alyson Footer's latest blog post.

The Astros will be holding a six-inning intra-squad game Sunday, the day before the first Spring Training game. The coaches for the game, Dave Clark and Bobby Meacham picked their rosters today. Many of the players are Farmstros.

Dave Clark's Squad
Brian Bogusevic
T.J. Steele
Anderson Hernandez
Tommy Manzella
Carlos Corporan
J.D. Martinez
Koby Clemens
Jose Carlos Thompson
Matt Downs
Jordan Lyles-P
Jose Valdez-P
Pat Urckfitz-P
Nelson Figueroa-P
Arcenio Leon-P
Ross Wolf-P

Bobby Meacham's Squad
J.R. Towles
Brian Dopirak
Jimmy Paredes
J.B. Shuck
Brian Esposito
Jio Mier
Jon Gaston
Ozzie Navarro
Fernando Abad-P
Jorge DeLeon-P
David Carpenter-P
Casey Fien-P
Doug Arguello-P
Cesar Carrillo-P

Minor League Mini-Camp starts Today

The next wave of players is scheduled to hit Kissimmee today. Most of the players who will participate in minor league camp (some are there already) will report today. A number of the players reporting today have been tweeting to that fact.

McTaggart chats with Lyles

Brian McTaggart got on the Jordan Lyles bus yesterday. He posted this article on the youngest player in camp.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Hey, Look what Astros County found

Astros County has posted a link to an article from South Carolina about Jordan Lyles. It includes an explanation about why Twitter is not in Lyles' repretoire at the moment.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Mills on Lyles

Here's a link to video footage on where Brad Mills breakdowns Jordan Lyles.

A few Links of Note

The Express may have moved on as an Astros affiliate, but they have just posted a list of where all the former Express are now.

Meanwhile, Zachary Levine has posted his story on the bulked up Jio Mier.

Finally, Bleacher Report has a slideshow of the Astros Top Prospects 20 years old and under. Any guesses who number 1 is?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Levine on Mier

Zach Levine's latest e-postcard from camp features 2009 1st Round Pick Jio Mier.

Alumi-ku 5-0 to Begin March 4

If you are looking for some haiku on Twitter, this might be for you. Houston-based recycling superhero ALUMINUM CAN MUSIC MAN will be tweeting an environmentally-friendly haiku (ALUMI-ku) a day for each of the 50 days leading up to Earth Day (April 22). Hailing from the planet AL-Yumen, ALUMINUM CAN MUSIC MAN seeks to promote green living with ONE CAPE, ONE GUITAR and a POCKET-FUL OF GREEN SONGS. You can find out more about ALUMI-ku 5-0 here.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

See some Farmstros in Kissimmee

With big league camp in full swing today, and a minor league mini-camp scheduled to start this week, I wanted to give readers of Farmstros some insight into visiting Kissimee to see minor league spring training. Since I have only been to Spring Training once (24 years ago), I asked a veteran who has recently been to numerous Spring Trainings to share his experiences with you. As you will read below, Larry McCoy first attended Astros Spring Training in 2000. Larry was kind enough to write the following guide for fans who want to check out the ASTROS OF THE FUTURE in Kissimmee. According to Larry, minor league games start March 16. Once the schedule of games becomes available, I will post it.

Hello fellow Farmstros fans,

I was happy to be asked to write a brief (at least I’ll try to be) write-up for following your minor league Astros in Kissimmee. I have been an Astros fan for 30 years and since attending my first Spring Training in 2000, it is always a highlight of my baseball season.
The Astros hold their Spring Training at Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee, FL. The stadium is located at 1000 Bill Beck Blvd. The stadium seats over 5,000 fans with standing room of 6,000+, and it is considered one of the best in the Grapefruit League despite being the smallest. Home games for the Major league Astros start at 1:05pm Eastern time normally.
There are six minor league fields located behind Osceola Stadium filled with the minor league players and coaches preparing for the upcoming season. The bad news for minor league fans is access to the minor league fields is limited on home game days. The minor league fields are open to the public starting at 9am on days the major league team is playing away. There are 4 fields easily accessed by fans while 2 fields (used primarily for DSL and GCL Astros) are roped off and unavailable. The major league Astros can be found on the practice field located closest to the stadium early mornings and occasionally, they will sign autographs for those well-mannered autograph lovers like myself. Several big-leaguers will make the walking trip over to the batting cages and will stop as time allows for pictures or autographs. Major league coaches, executives, and other varied other notable faces (tv personalities, sports reporters, retired players) can be found walking the grounds and are also approachable for autographs as time and willingness allows. Astros alumni and dignitaries making regular appearances on the back fields have included CEO McLane, President of baseball operations Tal Smith, GM Wade, Bagwell, Biggio, Jose Cruz, Enos Cabell, Doug Brocail, and Roger Clemens (father of farmstro Koby Clemens).
Major league players (including non roster invites) reported by 2/19/11 (pitchers/catchers arrived 2/15). The first full workout was 2/20/11. The minor league players report 3/3/11 for pitchers and catchers and 3/8/11 for all position players, although several minor league players will report to camp early. (A minor league mini-camp involving some of the organization's top prospects is scheduled to begin 2/24) Practices start on arrival and the first games against other teams start 3/16/11 (although the Astros have not released the minor league schedule at this time). Each year the minor league Astros play games against the Braves, Nationals, and Tigers minor league teams.
The AAA/AA teams play together against the other team’s AAA/AA players, while the Class A players play against the Class A players from other teams. If the AAA/AA players play at Osceola, the Class A players will travel to the other team’s Spring Training site (and if the Class A play at home, the AAA/AA will travel). The games are scheduled to start at 1:05 also.
There are morning practices divided by position (pitchers/catchers, infielders, outfielders) and by playing level (AAA/AA and A). Among the 4 practice fields, fans have the opportunity to watch different drills and trainings as they desire. This is an excellent opportunity for autographs and photos with the players as most are very willing to sign if they are not in the middle of their work. Again, fans must remember this is their job and timing is key to approaching a player for autographs or pictures as they are working on their career in baseball. Morning drills/practice usually wraps up around lunchtime and players will head into the clubhouse for lunch and meetings before the afternoon session. Until the minor league games start the afternoon session, will be intrasquad games or additional drills by position. Many players are found in the bleachers watching their teammates and again this is an excellent opportunity for autographs/pictures.
Once the minor league games start the visiting players arrive around 12:30 typically and will stretch/warm-up and be available for autograph requests. Often a MLB pitcher will travel to make a start for a couple innings of work and some nice surprise autographs can be obtained. Personal successes have included Tom Glavine, C.C. Sabathia, and Fausto Carmona making surprise pitching starts. With 2 games going on simultaneously, there are plenty of things to see and lots of players to ask for autographs. The minor league clubhouse has 2 entrances and this is a great place to get autographs as players are leaving the fields after the games and practices end.
If you haven’t visited Spring Training, you should make it one of the things on your to-do list. Several parks are located within driving distance including Orlando's Cracker Jack Stadium (Atlanta Braves), Lakeland (Detroit Tigers) and Tampa (New York Yankees). The wife/kids have the Disney theme parks to keep them busy. Tons of fabulous restaurants, shops, and entertainment options are available. I have spent many 9am to 5pm days at the ballpark and can’t think of a better way to spend a March.
Thanks for reading and if you have any other questions, I would be happy to answer them for you.

Larry McCoy, devoted Astros fan and farmstro follower


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Lots of Farmstros Pictures

Thanks to Brian McTaggart for letting me use the above shot of Jio Mier signing autographs in Florida. This picture came from McTaggart's blog post, which recapped the third day of camp.
Needless to say, until I can hitch a ride to Florida, I am reliant on others for pictures of Astros of the future. Fortunately, Karen Warren of was apparently in a Farmstros state of mind Friday. This photo album includes numerous pictures of guys who haven't been in the show yet. Included in the 24 images are Jio Mier, J.D. Martinez, JB Shuck, and Jordan Lyles taking a shot at bunting.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

It's in the 90s in Florida

In the Farmstros office, it's not really spring training until you see a few players with high digits on the backs of their jerseys. Many thanks to Alyson Footer for letting me use this picture of Koby Clemens and J.B. Shuck, who are in big league camp as non-roster invitees. Footer's picture is from her recent blog post which included numerous pictures of the first day of camp after pitchers and catchers reported.

Viva Las Vegas! around Osceola's First Base

Fans of the Las Vegas 51s (Toronto's AAA affiliate) should right at home around Osceola County Stadium's first base bag this spring. Astros first baseman of the future (?) Brett Wallace and non-roster invitee Brian Dopirak were mainstays of the Las Vegas lineup during the 2010 season. Prior to being traded to Houston, Wallace played 76 games at first base for the 51s. Dopirak played 28 games as Las Vegas' first baseman. Over-all he played 86 games. I assume he served as a DH regularly in the Pacific Coast League. Wallace and Dopirak combined for 724 at bats with Las Vegas in 2010. Together they batted .289 and slugged .483 with 50 doubles, 29 home runs and 114 RBI

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Martinez Pre-Season Player of the Year

Readers of Farmstros have spoken, and J.D. Martinez is the pre-season Player of the Year. The Outfielder collected 18 out of 72 votes. Drew Locke was the runner-up with 11. Austin Wates with eight votes and Chris Wallace with seven were third and fourth. Jose Altuve, J.B. Shuck and Delino DeShields picked up six votes each.

Farmstros Five (your name here)

Regular readers of Farmstros may have noticed that The Farmstros Five is not included in the 2011 plan. Since the 2008 season, I have greatly enjoyed picking out the top performers in the Houston system every week and sharing them with the readership. However, the Farmstros Five feature is a very time consuming feature. At the moment, time is at a premium in and around the Farmstros offices and I am unable to devote any to Farmstros Five.

Having said this, if you are interested in promoting your organization to an audience of about 1000 unique visitors, who are FOLLOWING THE ASTROS OF THE FUTURE, please consider sponsoring one week, two weeks or a whole season of FARMSTROS FIVE. Please contact for more information.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


During Spring Training this season, outfielder Drew Locke will be posting his thoughts and insights from Florida to readers of Farmstros. Follow the Astros of the Future to get LOCKED IN WITH DREW.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Farmstros- the 2011 Plan

As players start making their way to Florida, a look at what Farmstros will be doing to FOLLOW THE ASTROS OF THE FUTURE in 2011:

LOCKED IN WITH DREW- Drew Locke has agreed to serve as a Spring Training correspondent for Farmstros this season. We have not set an firm schedule for posting, but the non-roster invite will be giving readers of Farmstros an inside look at Spring Training. He will be in big league camp, but he will also keep an eye on the minor league fields.

PLAYER OF THE MONTH- Every month, readers will have a chance to vote for the top performer in the system.

THE DATABASE- I will do my best to keep the database updated so can know who is in the system and where they are.

TWITTER-KU- I feel no compulsion to repeat THE QUEST FOR 3000 SYLLABLES; however, I will occasionally tweet a haiku as the season dictates.

OPENING DAY POEM- I will be revisiting the DUKES and their baseball world via poetry sometime around Opening Day and Easter.

A RELIABLE SOURCE- Through the blog and twitter, my main goal is to be a source for all of you who enjoy following the Astros of the future.

I appreciate your readership and look forward to following the Astros of the future with you in 2011.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Young Macdonald leaves the Farm

It appears James Macdonald isn't really back in the Astros system. Recently, it was posted here (thanks to Baseball America) that the Astros 2009 draft pick had been reinstated from the restricted list. Macdonald had retired prior to the 2010 season to pursue a career in journalism. Word from the Astros media office today is that Macdonald has been released. I think that a player has to be reinstated before he can be officially released, so it sounds like the reinstatement was just a formality.

NOTE: Thanks to Appy Astros for clarifying via Twitter that a player like Macdonald is placed on the restricted list, even though he is retired, to retain his rights in case he changes his mind. If I remember correctly, Chris Sampson was "retired" for several seasons before he came back to the Astros system. I assume he was on the restricted list during that time.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Macdonald is Back

According to Baseball America's latest transaction listing, James Macdonald is active again in the Astros organization. The 23 year old right-handed pitcher was drafted by the Astros in 2009. He spent 2009 with Tri-City, where he posted a 2.53 ERA in 32 innings. Prior to the 2010 season, it was reported that Macdonald was retiring to pursue a journalism career.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Pre-Season Pitcher of the Year- Jordan Lyles

When the polls closed early Wednesday morning, readers of this blog had voted Jordan Lyles the Pre-Season Pitcher of the Year in the Astros minor league organization for the second year in a row. Lyles, who will be reporting to big league camp on February 16, received 20 out of 51 votes. 2010 Draft Pick Mike Foltynewicz was the runner-up with 11 votes. Carlos Quevedo and Pat Urckfitz tied for third with six votes each. Thanks to everyone who voted.

Please note that the Player of the Year poll is now active. Voting will continue through February 15.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

McTaggart Talks about some Farmstros

Brian McTaggart posted his latest inbox at Saturday. Included in the series of questions he answered were Drew Locke, Koby Clemens (both of whom are already in Kissimmee) and Chia-jen Lo.

Friday, February 4, 2011

A New Voice to go with the New Players

The Oklahoma RedHawks have announced that J.P. Shadrick will be their new radio play-by-play announcer for the 2011 season. Shadrick, who most recently called games for the Jacksonville Suns will also handle media relations for the Astros new AAA affiliate.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

McTaggart Looks at the Players the Astros have Stockpiled

Brian McTaggart made this post on his blog about the players the Astros have stockpiled in the past seven to eight months via trade and the Rule 5 Draft.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Follow the Astros of the Future's Language Development?

A few days ago, I ran across a job posting on the Astros website that made me wish I was bilingual in Spanish instead of Japanese. The club is currently looking for a COORDINATOR, PLAYER ACCULTURATION AND LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT. The coordinator oversees the program that assists all the players in the system as they adapt to living in the USA. The program includes ESL and culture training during Spring Training. In addition, the coordinator travels to the Dominican Academy and to the Astros affiliates during the season. For any readers who ARE bilingual in English and Spanish and who have some educational background, you can find the complete job listing here.