farmstros can be reached at

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Kiilsgaard's long trip to Florida

After spending eight months rehabbing and preparing to begin his professional baseball career, outfielder Kellen Kiilsgaard still had to make the trek from Seattle to Kissimmee.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Legend of Jordan Lyles

With J.A. Happ nursing an oblique and Opening Day less than 36 hours away, the time is right to unveil THE LEGEND OF JORDAN LYLES at

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Minor League Baseball Trivia on the Radio

In honor of tonight's Astros/RedHawks exhibition game, Matt Thomas at Houston's Sports Talk 790 is basing his daily BELIEVE IT OR NOT promotion on minor league baseball today. The call-in contest will convene at 2:50 Houston time this afternoon. Hopefully this plug will help Matt Thomas forget that I snuck onto his show last May with fallacious information about Rojo Johnson.

Nidiffer is an Angel

Marcus Nidiffer, who spent last season with Greeneville and Tri-City has been released and picked up by the Angels. Read more at

Monday, March 28, 2011

Limited Tickets for RedHawks-Astros

According to J.P. Shadrick, Oklahoma City's Director of Media Relations, a limited number of tickets remain to tomorrow night's Astros/RedHawks exhibition game in Oklahoma City. The game is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. More information can be found at the RedHawks' website.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Shuck-Player of the Game

JB Shuck didn't do anything to hurt his chances of making the big league club Friday night. He was the player of the game when the Astros took on the Yankees in Tampa. Shuck had two stellar catches, an RBI double, and he threw a runner out at the plate as part of a double play. Brian McTagggart featured Shuck in his recap of the game.

The Ballad of JB Shuck

JB Shuck is still in big league camp with Minute Maid Park in view. My response? A little ditty at

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Where does J.B. Shuck fit into all of This?

The Astros made another round of cuts Thursday as the move toward their 25-man Opening Day roster:

Brian Bogusevic, OF
Tommy Manzella,SS
Wesley Wright, LHP

Brian Esposito, C

Interestingly, the Astros reassigned minor league catcher Robinson Cancel to big league camp. He will serve as a substitute catcher while Esposito starts preparing to catch the Oklahoma City staff.

Zachary Levine has posted a breakdown on where this leaves the status of the final roster spots.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

They Might be Pitchers

Ebert Rosario and Yordany Ramirez try to follow the footsteps of Jorge DeLeon. My latest post at

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

OKC baseball fans, meet your RedHawks

With the Astros/RedHawks exhibition gaeme one week away, I introduce a few likely RedHawks to the fans north of the Red River at

Monday, March 21, 2011

A Little Drew Locke Video

The day before getting reassigned to minor league camp, Drew Locke (LOCKED IN WITH DREW) had an RBI single against the Braves. Here's a link to the video of this hit.

Lyles will be a RedHawk when season begins

It appears that Jordan Lyles will be pitching at Oklahoma City's Ballpark at Bricktown a little bit this season after all. After posting a sub 2.00 ERA this spring, the 20-year old Lyles was reassigned to minor league camp this morning. Six others joined Lyles on the short trek to the minor league side of the complex.

Sergio Escalona, LHP

Casey Fien, RHP
Drew Locke, OF
Jordan Lyles, RHP
Fernando Rodriguez,Jr., RHP
T.J. Steele, OF
Patrick Urckfitz, LHP

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Down on the Cyber-Farm

I have posted my lastest entry at This one takes a look at some of the Astros prospects on Twitter.

In other cyber-Farmstros news:

Tri-City's media relations/production manager Chris Chenes is in Kissimmee. He is posting and tweeting from Spring Training. You can read his first post here.

The Lancaser JetHawks launched their new website today as well.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Shuck Goes Yard!!

Outfielder JB Shuck only has seven home runs in 1347 professional at bats, so video of his home run in today's game against Florida is worthy of a link.

As an added bonus, Zach Levine led off his March 18 article on Spring Training with some JB Shuck.

Talkin' Baseball Composer Cashman to the Hall of Fame

Terry Cashman, who composed the song Talkin' Baseball will be going into the Baseball Hall of Fame this summer. I just read this article about Cashman's induction, and as a lover of music and baseball, I pass the link on. I must admit that as I keyboard this post, the only version of the song that is running through my head is Talking Softball, which aired on a SIMPSONS episode.

RedHawks games to be on 1340 The Game

Oklahoma City announced that the RedHawks games will be on 1340 The Game. The club's broadcast team will include J.P. Shadrick and Darren Hendrick.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

JetHawks to Launch new website

The Lancaster JetHawks have announced they will be launching their new website on Saturday, March 19. It will available at the same address.

Article on Drew Locke from

This one snuck past the filters. I just saw this short article on Drew Locke posted on It posted a week ago.

The Road to Houston...Begins in Kissimmee

March Madness, Farmstros Style at

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What Will I do without Jordan Lyles?

Jordan Lyles' two perfect innings today are a spring board for my latest blog post at about the candidates to take his place in the Farmstros spotlight.

Tickets for RedHawks/Astros game on Sale Tuesday

Tickets to see the Astros play against their new AAA affiliate, the Oklahoma RedHawks, go on sale Tuesday morning at 9 a.m.
The game, which marks the Astros return to Oklahoma after nearly four decades, begins at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 29.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Fourteen headed to minor league Camp

Fourteen players were officially moved to the minor league roster in Kissimmee today. This leaves 49 players in big league camp.

Reassigned to minor league camp (These players are not on the 40-man roster)
Doug Arguello, P
Koby Clemens, 1B
Brian Dopirak, 1B
Jiovanni Mier, SS
Jose Carlos Thompson, IF
Rene Garcia, C
Sammy Gervacio, P
Jon Gaston, OF
J.D. Martinez, OF

Optioned to minor league camp (These players are on the 40-man roster)
David Carpenter, P
Cesar Carrillo, P
Jorge DeLeon, P
Arcenio Leon, P
Jimmy Paredes, IF

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Spring Break Guide made just for a Farmstro fan

Late last night I posted a Spring Break survival guide at If you are heading to Kissimmee soon (or just looking forward to opening day), give it a read.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Farmstros is day to day

I guess the strain of spring training hit the old hard drive. Major crash today. I will be following the Astros of the future but my computer access is limited.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Farmstros Reports to Camp for

The timing for this announcement couldn't be any better. As I write this post, Jordan Lyles is completing his third inning of the Astros' game in St. Lucie. Earlier in the contest, J.D. Martinez hit his first round-tripper of the Spring. Meanwhile back in Kissimmee, the entire minor league roster has completed its first full workout and minor league games are just one week away.

Since all the Farmstros are in action today, I too have reported for Spring Training... for I received word yesterday that, Farmstros has been added to the roster of bloggers at Houston's newspaper for the 2011 season. I will be FOLLOWING THE ASTROS OF THE FUTURE two or three times a week right next door to Zachary Levine, Steve Campbell, et. al. I am looking forward to new followers and new adventures for Farmstros in 2011.

I am working on the final details. Trying to decide whether to get a haircut before my head shot? The first post should be available within a day or two.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Farmstros Sings about Folger's

This video is of my entry in the Folger's Jingle contest. Semi-finalists in the contest are to be announced in the next few days. If I am selected, be prepared for me to ask for your votes near the end of March. I guess if I win this contest it means that any Astros players who are promoted this season for a "cup of coffee" in the big leagues will be drinking Folger's.

McTaggart on Thompson

Brian McTaggart posted a story about Jose Carlos Thompson today. Thompson, an infielder in Astros camp, is seeking to become the first Cuban to play for the club since 1978.

It's Jiovanni, Thank you very Much!

During Monday's Spring Training game, radio announcers Brett Dolan and Dave Raymond went off on a tangent about the preferred names of some of the Astros prospects. As one who has spent an inordinate amount of time convincing people to call me by my own preferred name, I have made the following adjustments to my database:

Jiovanni (not Jio) Mier

JB (not Jack) Shuck

Patrick (not Pat) Urckfitz

Opening Day- One month Away!

For those of you planning ahead, the minor league season starts April 7. Each of the Astros' affiliates gets started in one month:

Oklahoma City @ Memphis (7:05, Houston time)
Corpus Christi @ Tulsa (7:05)
Lancaster vs. High Desert (9:00)
Lexington vs. Charleston (6:05)

NOTE: Prior to the season opener, Oklahoma City is scheduled to play two exhibition games: vs. the Astros on Tuesday, March 29 (6:30) and at Tulsa on Saturday, April 2 (2:05).

Saturday, March 5, 2011

McTaggart Goes Lunar

Many thanks to Brian McTaggart at for the use of this picture of Chang Jong Moon. The Astros signed Moon, from South Korea, in September 2009. Moon spent last season with the GCL Astros. The picture is from Saturday's Tag's Lines, which recaps the Kissimmee portion of Saturday's split squad action.

Jordan Lyles pitched three innings, allowing one run in the game against St. Louis in Jupiter Saturday.

Speaking of McTaggart, his Saturday Beat Notebook includes quotes from J.D. Martinez, who saw his first game action on Saturday.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Farmstros Spring Training Schedule

The Astros minor league spring training schedule has been released. If you plan to go to Kissimmee this spring to see some of the Astros of the Future, check out the Minor League Spring Training Guide, which Larry McCoy created for Farmstros.

For traveling purposes, Houston's prospects are slated to face off with four other teams over the course of the spring. Washington is based in Viera; Atlanta is based at the Disney Complex in Orlando; Detroit is based in Lakeland; The Mets are based in St. Lucie.

The Schedule:(All games start at noon Florida time)
March 16- AAA/AA- Mets; A- @Mets
March 17- AAA/AA- vs. Washington; A- @Washington
March 18- AAA/AA- @ Washington; A- Washington
March 19- AAA/AA- @ Detroit; A- Detroit
March 20- AAA/AA- Atlanta; A- @ Atlanta
March 22- AAA/AA- @ Atlanta; A- Atlanta
March 23- AAA/AA- Detroit; A- @Detroit
March 24- AAA/AA- @ Washington; A- Washington
March 25- AAA/AA- @ Detroit; A- Detroit
March 26- AAA/AA- Washington; A- @Washington
March 27- AAA/AA- Atlanta; A- @Atlanta
March 28- AA- @Atlanta; A- Atlanta (AAA is traveing to Oklahoma City)
March 29- AAA- vs. Astros in OKC; AA- Detroit; A- @Detroit
March 31- AA- @ Atlanta; A- Atlanta
April 1- AA- Washington; A- @ Washington

Pitchers and Catchers Report Today

Those minor league pitchers and catchers who aren't there yet, are scheduled to report to Kissimmee for training camp today. The reporting date for position players is Tuesday, March 8.

Locke, Lyles, and some Haiku

Here's a few links of interest from Wednesday:

Brian McTaggart's blog post includes a good picture of Drew Locke in the batting cage. McTaggart also runs down many of the Farmstros performances in yesterday's split squad games.

Bryan Hoch of wrote an article about Jordan Lyles' spring debut.

In Lyles' debut game, Jay Austin made a nice throw to nail a runner (video) and Jio Mier made a nifty play at shortstop (video)

For those of you needing a haiku fix, Kevin Goldstein posted his haiku assessment of each organization's minor league system.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

In Lakeland and Tampa, Farmstros Abound

There is nothing better than split squad games to assure that a slew of minor leaguers get to take the field. Thanks to alysonfooter and her camera on Twitter, we know who is going to be where today.

Part of the team will be in Lakeland taking on the Tigers.

T.J. Steele, Koby Clemens and Drew Locke (LOCKED IN WITH DREW) are scheduled to start in this game. Additionally, Chris Wallace, Jimmy Paredes, Jose Monzon, Austin Wates, Marcus Nidiffer and Enrique Hernandez will be on the bench ready to play late in the contest. David Carpenter and Jorge DeLeon are in line to pitch against the Tigers.

Further down the road in Tampa, the rest of the organization will take on the Yankees.

Jordan Lyles (The Legend of Jordan Lyles)will make his first appearance of the spring. Also, J.B. Shuck is starting in left-field against the pinstripes. Doug Arguello and Arcenio Leon will be in the bullpen with Lyles.

Oh, the Places Farmstros will Go!

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

Poetically speaking, I have always enjoyed the good Dr. Theodor S. Geisel. Actually, I have often described the songs that I write about baseball as being 2/3 Dr. Seuss and 1/3 Adam Seuss.

So on the anniversary of Dr. Seuss' birthday, I share the above song FEET IN YOUR SHOES, which is based on the Dr. Seuss classic "Oh, The Places You'll Go!" (It also seems a fitting song, as minor league pitchers and catchers report to Florida tomorrow with the thought "Where will I go this season?" certainly on their minds)

Also, if you've ever wondered what happened to the dietary habits of the lead character in "Green Eggs and Ham" after he ate green eggs and ham click here.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


March 1, 2011 from Kissimmee, Florida:

by Drew Locke

Welcome to the first installment of LOCKED IN WITH DREW. I will try and give you an inside look at Spring Training. Camp has been a great experience so far. Pitchers and catchers reported on February 16. That was also the first day of voluntary workouts for position players. We got a few quality workouts in and got our feet under us a bit. No matter how much you work out in the off-season, the legs and feet are going to be sore the first couple days. Players always say the best way to prepare for spring training is to put a new pair of cleats on and stand in your backyard for four hours at a time.

The first week included team meetings, fundamentals, defensive work, batting practice, and the dreaded “live batting practice.” This drill involves pitchers, throwing to hitters on the field simulating a game atmosphere. Pitchers are usually ahead of hitters at the beginning of spring training, so there aren’t many hitters that are excited to jump in the box. I had the opportunity to face recent Rule 5 Draft selection Aneury Rodriguez, Dougie Arguello, and Henry Villar during the first few days.

After about a week of that, we had an intra-squad game. Koby Clemens won the MVP for the second straight year as he went 3-3 with a homerun. J.B. Shuck was visibly upset after the game as he also went 3-3 but was not on the winning team.

Actual Spring Training games started on Monday when the team traveled to the Wide World of Sports Complex in Disney. The starters usually get about three at bats each game, and then the backups come in and finish out the game. T.J. Steele came in as a defensive replacement for Michael Bourn, and hurt his elbow diving for the first ball hit to him. However, he stayed in the game and ended up going 2-2. I have had the opportunity of relieving Carlos Lee of base running duty in both games so far. I am sure he appreciates it.

Now that the games are underway, spring training is going to start flying by. I believe we have seven games in the next five days. It may sound busy, but playing in games is really the only way to get ready for the season. There are no drills that can gear you up for a guy that wants nothing else but to get you out. The more game at bats a player gets, the more comfortable he is going to feel.

One other item of note: My friends from back home and I had our annual fantasy baseball draft Saturday night. I ended up taking three or four Astros on my team, so hopefully they can help my team take home the championship. Hunter Pence has been looking really good in camp so far, so I had to take him. I have a good feeling he is in for a monster year!

That’s about all I've got for this installment. I will try and check back in every week and give updates and a little bit of insight in the world of professional baseball. If you have any questions, you can email them to and I will try and answer some of them next time I check in.

Duncan is back on the Farm

According to BA, David Duncan is back in the Astros' system. He was released in the fall after struggling with Lexington and Lancaster in 2010. The 24 year old left-handed pitcher was drafted in the fifth round of the 2008 draft. He is back on my list of players' twitter feeds (duncandonuts19).

Shuck, Gaston and Steele on

Brian McTaggart has posted a feature story on the Farmstro outfielding trio of J.B. Shuck, Jon Gaston and T.J. Steele.

Bagwell on Clemens

I rarely refer to Jerome Solomon of on Farmstros. I don't have anything against him; however, it is pretty rare that he has anything to write about a player in the Astros farm system. However, today he has posted an article on Koby Clemens. More specifically, it is an article that includes quotes from and a comparison to Jeff Bagwell.