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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Are More Art Classes in Jordan Lyles' Future?

Picture by April Sandefer of the Oklahoma University Medical Center. Used with permission.

Even with the departure of Livan Hernandez opening up a spot for a younger pitcher in the Astros' rotation, it is sounding likely that Jordan Lyles will start out the year working on his craft in Oklahoma City with the Astros' AAA affiliate. Lucas Harrell, who has pitched well in Florida, is out of options, which appears to give him the inside track on the fifth starting slot as the regular season opens. If Harrell does end up on the 25-man roter, Lyles will be spending some time in a RedHawks' uniform working on painting the black, carving up hitters, and sculpting pitching masterpieces with OKC's pitching coach Burt Hooton.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Say it Ain't So, Jimmy Van O! Six More Gone.

Once again, What the Heck, Bobby! is the bearer of bad news to the Farmstros Village. Jayne has confirmed that six players, including Jimmy Van Ostrand pictured above, are no longer part of the Astros' organization.

The Sword-Bellied Dukes' Fans' Shirts Held Scimitars

The Dukes began their season with a much-expected thud
Throughout the town, consensus was that they would be a dud
They had a lack of hitting, and their arms were spotty too
Their losses would amass, no doubt, before this year was through

"What should I do?" the owner thought, "To not lose every fan?"
"Another awful year for us, requires a special plan."
He studied focus groups and talked to ticket holders too
He even tried the "GOOGLE". Query: "What should my team do?"

With Easter and Opening Day approaching, I am putting the finishing touches on another poem about the Dukes. A excerpt of the poem The Sword Bellied-Dukes' fans' Shirts held Scimitars. (The plain-bellied Dukes' fans had none upon thars') is posted above.

I will post the entire text next Friday in the AM. Until then, feel free to catch up on the previous four installments in the Dukes' series:

2011- Ballpark Time Machine
2010- The Second Baseman Rides into the Sunset
2009- A Three Days' Journey From Worst to First
2008- The Golden Sombrero Wearer

Former Tri-City announcer to Broadcast JetHawks games in 2012

Whoever ends up on the JetHawks roster next week, a new voice will be calling their games in 2012. Jason Schwartz has replaced Jeff Lasky as the radio voice of the Astros High A affiliate in the California League. Schwartz spent the last three season calling games for the Tri-City Dust Devils in the Northwest League. He is also the USC Women's basketball team. Schwartz went to USC.

I am currently trying to track down Jeff Lasky, who had called JetHawks games since 2006. Lasky also is the voice of Montana St. basketball and football.

Farmstros is in the Sound Cloud

I am trying out a new method of sharing audio with the Farmstros Village. The Sound Cloud should make it easier for readers to hear the interviews, songs, etc. that Farmstros produces. Currently, you can access THE (Chris) WALLACE REPORT and an interview with Larry Dierker in the Sound Cloud.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Coming Soon to RedHawks Field at Bricktown

I don't know if this means anything, but the first song I heard on the radio this morning was Fleetwood Mac's Don't Stop Thinking about Tomorrow. It struck me as a fitting way to start the day as the countdown continues to another season of baseball in the Astros' organization.

A few moves this morning have shed more light on who will be heading to Oklahoma City to start the year next week. Following is my speculation on who Tony DeFrancesco will be putting on his line-up card April 5 when the RedHawks host Memphis.

Justin Ruggiano, OF.
Jimmy Paredes, 2B. Paredes will be back in the middle infield this season.
Brett Wallace, 3B. Another player, another position switch.
Jimmy Van Ostrand, 1B. How many AAA teams will have a Gold Medal winner in their lineup? At least one.(With Van Ostrand's release, I predict Kody Hinze is the RedHawks 1B.)
Fernando Martinez, OF. Martinez tries to stay healthy and make his potential, actual.
Collin DeLome, OF. This is likely a do or die season for DeLome, who was the highest pick the Astros signed in the nefarious 2007 draft.
Angel Sanchez, SS. The acquistion of Jed Lowrie means AAA for Sanchez.
Landon Powell, C. Powell played 36 games for Oakland in 2011.
*Jordan Lyles, P. Lyles returns to OKC for some more seasoning.

*NOTE, RedHawk pitchers will still bat this season in games against National League affiliates. Oklahoma City will use the DH in their 48 games against AL affiliates. By comparison, the AA Corpus Christi Hooks will use the DH in 88 games in 2012.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Entrevista con Enrique Hernandez

Nine and a Half Days...Until Baseball Starts

Photos above from Chris Chenes of the Tri-City Valley Cats. Used with permission.

Some iteration of the above game line-ups, which were seen on the backfields of Kissimee last week, will be posted in the dugouts of the Astros top four affiliates in nine and a half days. Beginning Thursday, help Farmstros fill in the 98 players who will be playing in Oklahoma City, Corpus Christi, Lancaster, and Lexington.

Ten More Released from the Backfields

Well, now I can add "Got scooped by a girl" to my resume.(Please don't tell my kids.)

What the Heck, Bobby got confirmation about the ten latest minor leaguers released by the Astros. She posted the list here. For those who care about that kind of thing, she even did us the favor of putting the list in alphabetical order.

Monday, March 26, 2012

March Madness- 25 Years Ago

It seems everyday this spring, somebody new has posted their pictures, video, and more from the Astros' Spring Training proceedings in Kissimmee. Unfortunately, a trip to Spring Training is not on the Farmstros calendar this season. However, thanks to a well-perserved scrapbook, we are able to share with the Farmstros Village a few pictures of the last(and only) time we were able to watch some baseball in Osceola County Stadium, 25 years ago.

This photo of game action was taken either March 16, 1987 when the Astros took on the Cardinalso or March 18 when they took on Cincinnati. The Reds' manager at the time was Pete Rose.

Here's an obligatory crowd shot. Somewhere off in the distance, Ken Caminiti was getting ready to open the season with AA Columbus. Caminiti made his debut later in the season.

General Admission in 1987? $4.00

Keith Bodie, who is Corpus Christi's manager this season, was the manager of the Asheville Tourists in 1987. About halfway through the year, Bodie would welcome a new player to the Asheville roster: The Astros' first round pick out of Seton Hall, Craig Biggio.

March 1987 was truly a banner sports month for Farmstros. After spending a week in Florida(our remote offices are pictured above), we were able to stop off in New Orleans for a little Final Four action at the Superdome.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Farmstros on the Frontfields

Today's split squad games in Kissimmee and Orlando meant there was a surplus of minor leaguers on the field in both places for the Houston organization. My best count shows a total of 12 players who are not part of Major League camp playing in today's two major league games.

at Atlanta(Disney Complex)
Jordan Brown, 1B, did not bat
Kirk Clark, RHP, 2/3 IP, two batters faced, two batters retired
Jacob Goebbert, OF, 2 for 2
Jonathan Meyer, 3B, 0 for 1
T.J. Steele, PH, 0 for 1, 1 K
Jonathan Villar, SS, 0 for 1
Chris Wallace, PH, 0 for 1, 1 K

vs. Pittsburgh(Osceola County Stadium)
Brandon Barnes, CF, 1/2, 1 double
Jarred Cosart, RHP, 3 1/3 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 5 K
Collin DeLome, OF, 0 for 2, 1 Run
Ben Orloff, 1 for 2, 1 RBI
Jimmy Van Ostrand, 1B, 0 for 2

The Farmstros Village Has an NCAA King

With five games remaining in the NCAA Mens' Basketball Tournament, "The Ghost of Sonny Jackson" has sealed victory in the Farmstros Village bracket. Barring something unforeseen, TGOSJ will be crowned the NCAA King of the Village on April 2.
TGOSJ only has a one point lead over "larrymccoyastros", but their selections for the remaining five games will result in each of them receiving the same number of additional points, so "The Ghost of Sonny Jackson" is the winner.


Friday, March 23, 2012

The RedHawks have a second base man

After this mornings demotions from Houston's big league camps, it appears that Jimmy Paredes will be the starting second baseman in Oklahoma City on opening day. The Astros optioned Paredes to AAA, and they have decided to move him back to his natural position of second base this season. He played third base last season in Corpus Christi and Houston with Jose Altuve at second base.

The Astros moved a total of six players to minor league camp Friday morning, leaving 41 players in major league camp.

Optioned to AAA
Fernando Martinez, OF
Jimmy Paredes, 2B
Aneury Rodriguez, RHP

Reassigned to minor league camp
Xavier Cedeno, LHP
Brad Snyder, OF
Jose Valdez, RHP

More Backfield Photos

Tim DeBlock of Crawfish Boxes (fame?) has posted an album of pictures from his trip to Spring Training. A majority of the pictures are from the backfields, with many players easily identifiable.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Video from the Backfields

Apparently, The Crawfish Boxes sent a videographer to the backfields of Osceola County Stadium. They have set up a page on You Tube that includes several videos of the action away from the big league stadium. Included are Delino DeShields, Jr., Craig Biggio and George Springer.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Five More Released

Have confirmed five players who the Astros released on Tuesday in addition to Jordan Comadena.

Wander Alvino, RHP (Lancaster in 2011)
Bryce Lane, OF (Lexington/Lancaster)
Mike Ness, RHP (Lancaster)
Jose Vargas, OF (Greeneville)
Bubby Williams, C (Tri-City)

In addition, word from What the Heck, Bobby is that Kevin Gonzalez, C has retired. Gonzalez was drafted last summer out of Texas A&M.

Farewell to Funky

Astros' minor leaguer Jordan Comadena was released Tuesday along with several other players. Comadena, signed as an undrafted free agent out of Purdue, was not a prospect. However, with his Twitter feed and his unabashed passion for the Steelers, Jordan carved out a unique spot for himself in the Farmstros Village.

Kevin Chapman Should be Familiar to Hooks Fans

If new acquistion Kevin Chapman breaks camp with Corpus Christi next month, he won't need to be introduced to fans at Whataburger Field when the Hooks open the season against Northwest Arkansas on April 5. The left-handed reliever who the Astros received from Kansas City in Tuesday's trade was part of one of the most memorable Hooks' home games of the 2011 season.

On July 12, Chapman took the mound in the bottom of the 8th inning of a 3-3 ballgame. The Hooks loaded the bases against Chapman with two outs, setting the stage for Chris Wallace's pinch hit grand slam, which proved to be a game-winner in the contest. Wallace's blast drove home Brandon Wikoff, Jimmy Paredes, and J.D. Martinez.

Thanks to @HooksFanSarah who was at the game and told me about it on Twitter.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sadness on the Backfields

According to rumors and a few tweets from players, today was the first day that the Astros cut players from minor league camp. The tone of the tweets I saw was that this is a sad day on the backfields.

There's a sadness in the backfields
Noise is missing from the air
Some voices that were heard before
Are now no longer there.

Now winter's left and faces often seen are now long gone
Yet spring has sprung and baseball season still must carry on.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Pictures from the Backfields

Many thanks go to Farmstros Villager Dan Nelson who just sent me a link to his Facebook album full of pictures from the back fields of Osceola County Stadium. Every picture is labeled so you can tell who's who. While the pictures are mostly of minor leaguers, there is a Craig Biggio sighting in the album as well.

Coming soon to Whataburger Field

The Corpus Christi Hooks contingent is in Kissimmee at the moment taking in some Spring Training. Here's an educated guess at who new Hooks' manager Keith Bodie will be bringing back with him for opening day at Whataburger Field this season. The Hooks first game is April 5 vs. Northwest Arkansas.

Austin Wates, CF-Lancaster's most consistent hitter in 2011.
Adam Bailey, RF-Moved from Low A to AA in 2011.
Chris Wallace, C- U of H product returns to Corpus.
Jonathan Singleton, 1B- Could be the biggest part of the Hunter Pence trade.
Jonathan Meyer, 3B- Top 3B prospect not in big league camp.
Jacob Goebbert, LF- Ended 2011 in Oklahoma City.
Erik Castro, DH- Hit .259 with nine home runs for Lancaster in 77 games.
Jose Thompson, 2B- Batted over .300 for Lancaster in 2011.
Jonathan Villar, SS- Touted by many as the Astros shortstop of the future.

Jake Buchanan, SP-Farmstros Pitcher of the Year in 2011.

Harvard-Westlake HS is coming to Clear Channel Stadium

One of the top high school baseball teams in the country will be at Lancaster's Clear Channel Stadium this week. Harvard-Westlake High School, ranked 4th in the nation by Baseball America, will be playing on the JetHawks home field Friday night at 7:30 pm. The game is one of twelve high school contests on the schedule this week at The Hangar as part of the Varsity First Pitch being sponsored by Antelope Valley University.

Harvard-Westlake in Studio City, California boasts two of the top high school pitching prospects in the nation in RHP Lucas Giolito and LHP Max Fried. Unfortunately, Giolito recently had his senior season cut short by injury. Harvard-Westlake will face Lancaster High School on Friday night.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Harper Demoted, Coming to Kissimmee Thursday?

The demotion of Bryce Harper to AAA by Washington has definite ramifications for that franchise in 2012. However, the move immediately affects fans of the Astros of the future who plan to be in Kissimmee this Thursday to watch some baseball. The Astros AA and AAA teams are scheduled to face their Washington counterparts on the Osceola County Stadium backfields on Thursday, March 22. Assuming Harper competes with Syracuse, Washington's AAA affiliate, those roaming the backfields on Thursday could get an up close look at the #1 pick in the 2010 draft.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

49 in Camp

I just returned from a Spring Break camping trip with the family near Waco to find out that the Astros sent nine players to minor league camp on Thursday. Combined with the signing of catcher Landon Powell to a minor league contract(with a non-roster invite to big league camp), these nine demotions leave the Astros with 49 in camp.

Optioned to the minors
Juan Abreu, RHP
Paul Clemens, RHP

Reassigned to the minors
Brandon Barnes, OF
Rene Garcia, C
Jacob Goebbert, OF
Diory Hernandez, IF
Lance Pendleton, RHP
Jonathan Singleton, OF/1B
Chris Wallace, C

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

My Bracket is Better than Yours

Despite all the improvements in technology over the years, some things are still better when they are made by hand, as opposed to being generated by a machine. Chocolate chip cookies and homemade ice cream come to mind immediately.

Also near the top of this list every March in the Farmstros offices is the NCAA Tournament bracket. The 2012 edition is pictured above. 20 teams have been added to the tournament since my father and I made our first homemade bracket in 1980. Also, the tradition has now been passed on to a new generation. However, every year when March Madness rolls around, I can sincerely say, "I have the best bracket."

The (Chris) Wallace Report, Part 2

Catcher Chris Wallace survived the first round of cuts in big league camp today, and even found time to talk to the Farmstros Village for a few minutes. Among the topics discussed, Chris talks about getting his first big league(Spring Training) hit.

Six go to the Backfields

The Astros shipped six players across the complex to minor league camp this morning. Pitchers Arcenio Leon and Jorge DeLeon, who are on the 40-man roster, were optioned to the minors. Infielders Jonathan Villar and Delino DeShields, Jr., pitcher Henry Villar, outfield George Springer were reassigned, as they were non-roster invites. The number of players in big league camp now stands at 57.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Who is Heading to Minor League Camp First?

It is getting close to the time for the first set of players to get moved from Kissimmee's big league camp to the back fields of minor league camp. In 2011, the first set of 14 players got domoted on March 14.

Here's a look at 14 players likely to make the move to the back fields before minor league games begin on March 15:

Reassigned(Non-roster invites)
Brandon Barnes, OF
Xavier Cedeno, LHP
Delino DeShields, Jr., 2B
Rene Garcia, C
Jacob Goebbert, OF
George Springer, OF
Jose Valdez, RHP
Henry Villar, RHP
Jonathan Villar, SS
Chris Wallace, C

Optioned(Members of the 40-man roster)
Paul Clemens, RHP
Jorge DeLeon, RHP
Arcenio Leon, RHP

Michael Kvasnicka, C- Kvasnicka has appeared in a big league game this spring. I am not sure where he is assigned, but I assume he'll be getting as much behind-the-plate time as possible in minor league games.

The Gun is Back, Oh, Happy Day!

I am sure that Friday was a special day to be an Astros fan. Jim Crane and his leadership listened to his fans and fought the good fight against the oppressive MLB. As a result of the new owner's efforts, Bud Selig's forces wavered in their decision to prevent the Astros from wearing guns on throwback Colt .45s jerseys during two games at Minute Maid Park. The decision on this matter, MLB announced, would be returned to its rightful place, the Houston Astros.

It was not surprising at all to read the announcement that the Astros would keep the guns on their shirts on April 10 and 20. What was ipmressive was seeing the coverage that the announcement received in the two hours after it was made on Friday afternoon. I sincerely can't wait to see what trick Jim Crane, George Postolos, et al. have up their sleeve as they continue to build good will for their baseball team through the Houston media.

It bears repeating that I hope the new Astros' leadership is as good at building a baseball organization as they are at getting attention. It bodes very well for the Astros of the Future if they are. A few highlights from Friday afternoon's coverage.

Brian McTaggart informed us that the Astros were sticking to their guns.

Steve Campbell at gave us his take on the Astros lack of gun control.

Zachary Levine also on tweeted out pertinent information for anyone looking for tickets to the gun show.

Stephen Goff told everyone what the Astros told Examiner about the decision.

The ever-photo-opportunistic Alyson Footer happened to have a picture of the Colt .45s uniforms(with guns) handy and was kind enough to share it with her readers-PewPewPew!.

The Crawfish Boxes chimed in with a story about how the Astros avoided a wardrobe malfunction.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Coming Soon to Clear Channel Stadium

After two seasons as the Lexington Legends' manager, Rodney Linares has been promoted to High A for the 2012 season. Here's a best guess at who Linares will put on his line-up card when the JetHawks take the field at High Desert on April 5.

John Hinson, 2B- Hinson, drafted last summer, batted .284 in 43 games for Tri-City.
Emilio King, LF- King batted .298 with 24 doubles in 98 games for Lexington in 2011.
Domingo Santana, RF- Santana batted .382 with five home runs and 21 RBI in 17 games for Lexington after being acquired in the Hunter Pence trade last summer.
Telvin Nash, DH- Nash had 14 home runs in just 268 at bats for Lexington in 2011.
Ben Heath, C- Between Lexington and Lancaster in 2011, Heath had 10 home runs and 42 RBI in 91 games.
Daniel Adamson, CF- Adamson batted .295 with 18 extra-base hits in 53 games for Lexington in 2011.
Jiovanni Mier, SS- The Astros first round pick in 2009, Mier returns to Lancaster to find his swing.
Andrew Simunic, 3B- Simunic topped out in AA Corpus Christi in 2011. He hit .295 in 67 games for Lancaster.
Tyler Burnett, 1B- Burnett was the main first baseman at Lexington in 2011. He batted .249 with 32 RBI for the Legends.

Mike Foltynewicz, RHP- Folty makes another step up the organizational ladder. The 2010 draft pick made 26 starts for Lexington in his first full professional season.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

You Could be the NCAA King of the Farmstros Village

Minor League Spring Training games start Thursday, which happens to be the same day that a certain college basketball tournament starts its round of 64. Since those two events are happening on the same day this year, it seems like a perfect occasion to merge the two and crown the first ever NCAA King of the Farmstros Village.

ALUMINUM CAN MUSIC MAN has been kind enough to set up the Farmstros Village bracket at Yahoo!Sports. You may need to provide the password "ACMM" when you click on the previous link. If you are feeling the March Madness, please follow the NCAA Tournament with us.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Extended Spring Training

Miles Hamblin, C

Jack Armstrong, Jr., RHP
Kyle Hallock, LHP
Chia-jen Lo, RHP

Who Are the Farmstros Playing against this Spring?

The Astros minor league teams begin their games against other organizations in just six days on March 15. If you are heading to Kissimmee in hopes of seeing some Astros of the Future, be sure to refer to the Farmstros pre-season guide by Larry McCoy.

Following is the schedule of minor league games for spring 2012. Games begin at noon(Kissimmee time). The Astros are scheduled to compete with players from three organizations: Atlanta(Disney Complex in Orlando), Detroit(Lakeland), and Washington(Viera). After the schedule, I have highlighted a few players from each of these organizations to keep an eye on in addition to the Astros prospects.

March 15- AA/AAA vs. Washington; Class A at Washington
March 16- AA/AAA at Washington; Class A vs. Washington
March 17- AA/AAA at Detroit; Class A vs. Detroit
March 18- AA/AAA vs. Atlanta; Class A at Atlanta
March 19- AA/AAA vs. Detroit; Class A at Detroit
March 20- CAMP DAY
March 21- AA/AAA at Atlanta; Class A vs. Atlanta
March 22- AA/AAA vs. Washington; Class A at Washington
March 23- CAMP DAY
March 24- AA/AAA at Washington; Class A vs. Washington
March 25- AA/AAA vs. Detroit; Class A at Detroit
March 26- AA/AAA at Atlanta; Class A vs. Atlanta
March 27- CAMP DAY
March 28- AA/AAA vs. Atlanta; Class A at Atlanta
March 29- AA/AAA at Detroit; Class A vs. Detroit
March 30- AA/AAA vs. Washington; Class A at Washington
March 31- CAMP DAY

Opponents to Keep an Eye On:

Atlanta- (Gwinnett-AAA; Mississippi-AA; Lynchburg-High A; Rome-Low A)

Nick Ahmed, SS. Ahmed was a teammate of George Springer at UCONN. The Braves picked Ahmed in the 2nd Round of the 2011 Draft.

Billy Bullock, RHP. Bullock was the closer for Mississippi most of 2011. He undoubtedly followed current Farmstros Paul Clemens and Brett Oberholtzer to the mound several times last season.

Joey Terdoslavich, 1B. Terdoslavich hit 20 home runs for Lynchburg in 2011, his first full pro season.

Detroit- (Toledo-AAA; Erie-AA; Lakeland-High A; West Michigan-Low A)

Brandon Loy, SS. Loy batted .342 for the University of Texas in 2011. Detroit picked him in the fifth round of the 2011 draft.

Brenny Paulino, RHP. Paulino is an 19-year old from the Dominican Republic. He struck out 52 batters in 51 IP in 2011, his first season playing in the U.S.

Drew Smyly, LHP. Smyly is the top-ranked lefty in the Tigers' system. In 2009, he was on the Arkansas Razorbacks' College World Series roster along with Astros' prospect Dallas Keuchel.

Washington- (Syracuse-AAA; Harrisburg-AA; Potomac-High A; Hagerstown-Low A)

Bryce Harper, OF. Harper could spend the whole spring in big league camp with the Nationals, but he could be in a few minor league games late in the month.

Alex Meyer, RHP. Meyer, out of the University of Kentucky was picked in the first round of last summer's draft.

Anthony Rendon and Rick Hague, IF. These two future Nationals once manned the infield at Rice University's Reckling Park together.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Dave Raymond would do Well to Play Going back to School

If Astros' announcer Dave Raymond is looking for an excuse to get himself out of traveling to Dunedin, Florida with Brett Dolan this weekend, he should consider making a cross-country trek to his alma mater Stanford for some college baseball. In case the Astros accounting department(or Brett Dolan) gives him any trouble about the expense of such a trip, Raymond could legitimately say he is doing some research for future Astros' broadcasts.

This weekend when the #2 Cardinal host the #5 Rice Owls, two pitchers who are projected to be near the top of the next two June drafts are slated to take the hill. Mark Appel, who is eligible to be drafted this summer, has made three starts for 11 and 1 Stanford. Appel has pitched 22 innings, allowing 13 hits and striking out 26 with a 3.68 ERA. Rice's Saturday starter is scheduled to be sophomore Austin Kubitza. Kubitza was rocked by Texas last weekend at Minute Maid Park. However, he is still 12 and 2 Rice's #1 starter with a 4.40 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 14 1/3 IP.

While these starting pitchers highlight Friday and Saturday's games, given these two programs' track records of producing big leaguers and Astros(see Jason Castro, Jed Lowrie, and Lance Pendleton), Raymond may be well-advised to stay over for Sunday's contest as well. Stanford and Rice will face off Friday at 7:30 pm(Houston time); Saturday at 3 pm; and Sunday at 2 pm.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Coming Soon to Whitaker Bank Ballpark?

In a little over four weeks, Lexington manager Ivan DeJesus will have to fill in a line-up card for the Legends first game of the season.

A best guess at how that line-up might look when the Legends take the field against Greensboro on April 5.

George Springer, CF- The Astros' 1st pick in 2011.
Delino DeShields, Jr., 2B- Top pick in 2010 back for more Low A.
Michael Kvasnicka, C- Move behind the plate continues in Kentucky.
Chase Davidson, DH- Had 11 home runs in 165 at bats in 2011.
Matt Duffy, 3B- Batted .298 with Tri-City.
Jordan Scott, RF- 2011 Farmstros Player of the Year.
Zach Johnson, 1B- 40 RBI in 2011 for the Valley Cats.
Drew Muren, LF- .257 for Tri-City in 2011.
Jean Batista, SS- 29 RBI in 50 games last summer.

Nick Tropeano, RHP- 2.36 in 12 New York-Penn League starts last year.

Monday, March 5, 2012

This One Goes Above the Mantle

While pitchers and catchers were arriving in Florida over the weekend, I received this bobble head of "Cooper" from the Oklahoma City RedHawks in the mail. The Astros' AAA affiliate held a trivia contest on Facebook Thursday afternoon, and I was the first one to answer that Esteban German is the only player to have hit a grand slam for and against the RedHawks in the franchise's history-1998-2011. The Cooper bobblehead was the prize for my efforts.

I Understand, Brian

I will do my best to give you your supply of clicks in the future. Thanks for all your excellent coverage of the team formerly known as the Colt .45s

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Top Ten Reasons Kirk Clark is Ready to Start Spring Training

Minor League Pitchers and Catchers will be taking part in their first workout tomorrow in Kissimmee. From the home office in Moultrie, Georgia, here are the top 10 reasons one of the pitchers in camp is excited to get to Florida. (For the sake of full disclosure, while Kirk saw several of these before I posted them, I wrote all of them.)

The Top Ten Reasons Kirk Clark is Eager to get to Florida this weekend for Spring Training…

#10- I can’t wait to give Jason Castro grief when Creighton knocks off Stanford in the NCAA Tournament

#9- If I play my cards right, Chris Chenes may buy me lunch.

#8- You can’t beat spending quality time with Jordan Comadena and Kody Hinze updating the official undrafted free agent scrapbook.

#7- I can’t believe I am about to spend a month in the state where Tim Tebow played college football.

#6- I’m looking forward to sitting around the camp fire scaring the young pitchers with horror stories about Clear Channel Stadium.

#5- Maybe this is the year I finally get mentioned in Alyson Footer’s blog.

#4- I’ll get to see if my new nickname, "Rutabaga Joe", catches on with the guys.

#3- Two words- Sliding drills

#2- I’m eager to submit my new uniform design ideas to Jim Crane.

#1- Hey, it beats being a Sugar Land Skeeter.

Farmstros to Face Nationals' Prospects Five Times This Spring

The Astros' minor league teams will face off with the prospects of the Washington Nationals five times during spring training.

Houston's AA and AAA affiliates will host their Nationals' counterparts in Kissimmee on March 15, 22 and 30. The Nationals' AA and AAA squads will return the hospitality on March 16 and 24. The High A and Low A teams will meet on the same days with the host organization reversed.

For more information about visiting Kissimmee for minor league spring training, please click on this link.

Friday, March 2, 2012

This time von Schamann Comes up a Field Goal Short

As I addressed in a previous post, Farmstros is not covering the Houston Baseball Classic at Minute Maid Park this weekend. However, my lack of press credentials didn't stop me from watching most of the Classic's first game this afternoon between Arkansas and Texas Tech online.

Arkansas, who is ranked as one of the top five college baseball teams in the country, knocked off the Red Raiders, 3-1. Yet, it was the starting pitcher for the team from Lubbock who caught my attention. Duke von Schamann is a sophomore who went 7 1/3 innings against the Razorbacks, allowing seven hits, and three runs. According to John Royal(@john_royal), who IS covering the classic, Duke's innings pitched, seven strikeouts and 104 pitches were all career highs.

Some of you may remember that another von Schamann was involved in a closely contested major college athletic event 35 years ago. Uwe von Schamann, who is the father of Texas Tech's Duke kicked a game-winning field goal for the Oklahoma Sooners in 1977 at Ohio St. University. According to Keith Jackson's call of the game, which you can watch at the previous link, this was the first meeting ever between the those two vaunted collegiate football programs, and it lived up to its billing.

I don't know if Duke von Schamann was at this afternoon's game at Minute Maid Park. However, the Red Raiders could have used a little bit of his right-footed magic to pull out the victory today.

Eight of the Top 100 Playing at Minute Maid Park this Weekend

While the Astros kick off their Major League Spring Training schedule this weekend in Florida, six college teams, including several of the top prospects eligible for this June's draft, will be taking the field at Minute Maid Park in the Houston College Classic. Three games will be played Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The participating schools are Rice, University of Houston, Texas, Texas Tech, Arkansas, and Tennessee.

Eight players in the tournament are listed among the top 100 draft eligible prospects by Baseball America:

#11- Nolan Sanburn, RHP
#37- Matt Reynolds, IF
#40- D.J. Baxendale, RHP

#21- J.T. Chargois, RHP
#58- Michael Ratterree, OF

#38- Hoby Milner, LHP
#43- Sam Stafford, LHP

Texas Tech
#72- Barrett Barnes, OF/1B

I Almost met a Gold Medal Winner Thursday

Like many of his Farmstro colleagues, Jimmy Van Ostrand is heading to Kissimmee this week. Van Ostrand's route to Spring Training was originally called for him to pass within five minutes from my location in Houston on Thursday afternoon. However, the ever-popular Dr. Van Ostrand got a last minute opportunity to visit a friend in The Woodlands. This alteration of itinerary made it logistically impossible for me to meet Van Ostrand and catch a glimpse of his Gold Medal from last Fall's Pan Am Games.

The Dr. Seuss Invitational

Dr. Seuss Invitational

It's March now, and madness is filling the air
The WHOs are preparing their brackets with care

The stories selected, 15 plus one more
The scorers all hired, for keeping the score

Will green eggs be champions?
Will fish steal the day?
Who will win THIS Tourney? It's easy to say.

Whoever flamzazzles a book in their hands
And journeys far off to mysterious lands

Each child who reads, even women and men
Will hear all of Whoville sing clearly, "You win."

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Lexington Legends

Luis Cruz
Dayan Diaz
Jonas Dufek
Mike Foltynewicz
Gabriel Garcia
Murilo Gouvea
Evan Grills
Mitchell Lambson
Chia-jen Lo-Disabled
Luis Ordosgoitti
Juri Perez
Nate Pettus
Eruis Quezada
Tommy Shirley

Luis Alvarez
Michael Kvasnicka
Ryan McCurdy

Delino DeShields, Jr.
Matt Duffy
Jose Fernandez
Nolan Fontana
John Hinson-Disabled
Zach Johnson
Ruben Sosa

Jay Austin
Justin Gominsky
Brandon Meredith
Jordan Scott

Lancaster JetHawks

Ruben Alaniz-Disabled
Jason Chowning- Disabled
Kirk Clark
Jorge DeLeon
Bobby Doran
Brad Dydalewicz
Zach Grimmett
David Martinez
Tyson Perez
Carlos Quevedo
Andrew Robinson
Nick Tropeano
Jose Trinidad
Pat Urckfitz

Ben Heath
Roberto Pena

Erik Castro
Enrique Hernandez
Jonathan Meyer
Jiovanni Mier-Disabled
Chan Moon
Telvin Nash
Alex Todd
Rafael Valenzuela

Chris Epps
Grant Hogue
Domingo Santana
George Springer

Corpus Christi Hooks

Erick Abreu
Jake Buchanan
Kevin Chapman
Jose Cisnero
Jarred Cosart
Arcenio Leon
Dan Meszaros-Disabled
Rob Rasmussen
Ross Seaton
Alex Sogard
Jason Stoffel
Henry Villar
Josh Zeid

Rene Garcia
Chris Wallace

Kody Hinze
Jose Martinez
Ben Orloff
Andy Simunic
Jonathan Singleton
Jonathan Villar-Disabled
Brandon Wikoff-Disabled

Adam Bailey
Jacob Goebbert
Drew Locke
Drew Muren
Austin Wates

Oklahoma City RedHawks

Juan Abreu
Hector Ambriz
Jonnathan Aristil- Inactive
Brian Bass
Xavier Cedeno
Paul Clemens
Adalberto Flores
Armando Galarraga
Dallas Keuchel
Wes Musick-Disabled
Brett Oberholtzer
Sergio Perez
Aneury Rodriguez
Mickey Storey
Jose Valdez-Disabled

Jair Fernandez
Landon Powell

Matt Dominguez
Mike Hessman
Jordan Kreke
Jimmy Paredes
Angel Sanchez-Inactive
Brett Wallace

Brandon Barnes
Travis Buck
Fernando Martinez
J.B. Shuck
Brad Snyder