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Monday, July 30, 2012

RedHawks Gear Up for Final Push in Race Against the Isotopes

From the look of the current standings, the Pacific Coast League's American Conference South Division title may not be decided until the final days of the 2012 season.  With five weeks to go in the campaign, the Astros' AAA affiliate Oklahoma City trails Albuquerque by 1 and 1/2 games. 

Fittingly, the two teams will face off four times during the final week of the pennant race.  The Isotopes will be in Oklahoma City to take on the RedHawks from August 27-30.  Albuquerque has won nine of the 12 games the two teams have played head-to-head so far in 2012. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Brett Wallace Wraps up Six Weeks in AAA

Brett Wallace wrapped up his sixth week back in Oklahoma City with a three-run home run Saturday night.  Wallace returned to the AAA RedHawks in mid-June after a two week stint with the Astros.  During the last six weeks at AAA, Wallace is batting .352(44 for 125) with seven doubles, six home runs, 20 RBI and a .552 slugging percentage.

Release of Chowning is a Head-Scratcher

I thought I was still sleeping and having a bizarre dream when I opened Twitter this morning and read that reliever Jason Chowning had been released. Yet, I pinched myself numerous times and the information was still there from numerous sources, including Chowning's own Twitter feed, the 2012 South Atlantic League All-Star and the Astros' organization had parted ways. (Chowning most recently was listed on the Lancaster Disabled List, so I assume that he was activated from the DL in order to be released.)

Granted Chowning had struggled quite a bit since being called up to Lancaster near the beginning of July. Further at 23, he is not young to be playing at the High A level.  However, I thought he might have bought himself a little bit of leeway with his stellar performance for Lexington during the first half of the season. At a bare minimum, I figured he might get a few chances to throw in a game after he returned from the DL.  Please feel free to join in the head scratching(if you feel so compelled) while you look at the numbers Chowning put up since the Astros drafted him in 2010.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Affiliates Unphased by Dog Days of Summer

July is supposed to be the time that the summer heat takes a toll on baseball players, and performances start to suffer as a result.  Apparently, nobody told the players in the Houston minor league system about this meteorlogical-based baseball axiom.  Through Thursday's games, the Astros' eight affiliates are 14 games over .500 with a 96-82 record. That's a .539 winning percentage in the seventh month of the year.

Where the 96 wins come from:

Oklahoma City- 15-8
Corpus Christi- 16-9
Lancaster- 15-8
Lexington- 14-10
Tri-City- 16-8
Greeneville-12-11
GCL Astros-12-12
DSL Astros- 6-16

Total Record- 96- 82 (.539)



Quevedo Surrenders First Run in Almost a Month

When Carlos Quevedo of the JetHawks allowed a home run at Lake Elsinore Thursday night, it was the first run he had given up since June 29.  In fact, Quevedo's 18 2/3 inning scoreless streak extended back to the time when he was still pitching for the Lexington.  After last night's outing, Quevedo's ERA in six appearances for Lancaster(13 2/3 innings) is 0.66.

August 2012 Tranasactions

Fernando Abad, LHP, promoted from Oklahoma City to Houston.

Juan Abreu, RHP, designated for assignment.  Removed from 40-man roster. Claimed off of waivers by Toronto.

Luis Alvarez, C, demoted from Lexington to Greeneville.

Hector Ambriz, RHP, contract purchased by Houston.  Added to 40-man roster.  Promoted from Oklahoma City to Houston.

Andrew Aplin, OF, promoted from Tri-City to Lancaster.

Jay Austin, OF, released.

Brandon Barnes, OF, contract purchased by Houston.  Added to 40-man roster.  Promoted from Oklahoma City to Houston.

Brian Bass, RHP, released.

Brian Bixler, IF, designated for assignment.  Removed from the 40-man roster. Outrighted to Oklahoma City.

Jake Buchanan, RHP, demoted from Oklahoma City to Corpus Christi.

Kevin Comer, RHP, named as the PTBNL acquired from Toronto for David Carpenter, J.A. Happ, and Brandon Lyon. Assigned to Greeneville.

Carlos Corporan, C, optioned from Houston to Oklahoma City.

Delino DeShields, 2B, promoted from Lexington to Lancaster.

Chris Devenski, RHP, named as the PTBNL acquired from Chicago White Sox for Brett Myers.  Assigned to Lexington.

Matt Dominguez, 3B, promoted from Oklahoma City to Houston.

Bobby Doran, RHP, promoted from Lancaster to Corpus Christi.

Matt Downs, IF, optioned from Houston to Oklahoma City.

Chris Epps, OF, demoted from Lancaster to Lexington.

Jair Fernandez, C, demoted from Oklahoma City to Corpus Christi.

Jose Fernandez, SS, demoted from Lexington to Greeneville.

Chuckie Fick, RHP, optioned from Houston to Oklahoma City.

Ben Francisco, OF, traded to Tampa Bay for a Player to be Named Later.

Armando Galarraga, RHP, designated for assignement.  Removed from 40-man roster. Opted to become a free agency.

Edgar Gonzalez, RHP, signed as a minor league free agent. Assigned to Oklahoma City.

Enrique Hernandez, 2B, promoted from Lancaster to Corpus Christi.

Teoscar Hernandez, OF, promoted from GCL Astros to Lexington.

Kody Hinze, 1B, released.

Dallas Keuchel, LHP optioned from Houston to Oklahoma City.

Emilio King, OF, promoted from Tri-City to Lexington. Demoted from Lexington to Tri-City.

Marc Krauss, OF, promoted from Corpus Christi to Oklahoma City.

Jordan Kreke, IF, demoted from Corpus Christi to Lexington.

Kenny Long, LHP, promoted from Tri-City to Lancaster.

Fernando Martinez, OF, promoted from Oklahoma City to Houston.

J.D. Martinez, OF, optioned from Houston to Oklahoma City.

Jose Martinez, IF, promoted from Corpus Christi to Oklahoma City.

Ryan McCurdy, C, demoted from Corpus Christi to Greeneville. Promoted to Lexington.

Garrett Mock, RHP, acquired from Boston for future considerations.  Assigned to Oklahoma City.

Chan Moon, SS, demoted from Lancaster to Lexington.

Jobduan Morales, C, promoted from Tri-City to Lexington.

Christian Moronta, C, demoted from Lexington to Greeneville.

Jimmy Paredes, IF/OF, promoted from Oklahoma City to Houston.

Juri Perez, RHP, demoted from Lexington to Tri-City.

Brian Sanches, RHP, signed as a free agent.  Assigned to Oklahoma City.

Ross Seaton, RHP, promoted from Corpus Christi to Oklahoma City. Demoted to Corpus Christi.

George Springer, OF, promoted from Lancaster to Corpus Christi.

Mickey Storey, RHP, contract purchased by Houston.  Added to 40-man roster.  Promoted from Oklahoma City to Houston.

Chris Wallace, C, demoted from Oklahoma City to Corpus Christi.



Thursday, July 26, 2012

2012 Farmstros Five- Week #16

Here's the Farmstros Five for the week of July 19-25, 2012:

The Top Performer:
David Martinez, 24, RHP, Lancaster. Martinez pitched 13 scoreless innings in two outings for the JetHawks.  He allowed 14 hits and struck out seven.

The Next Three(really four):

Carlos Correa, 17, SS and Rio Ruiz, 18, 3B, GCL Astros. The two 2012 draft picks were almost identical on the week.  Both were 9 for 23 with three extra-base hits(Correa- 2 HR; Ruiz- 2 Triples) and two RBI.

Jimmy Paredes, 23, 2B, Oklahoma City.  Paredes was 14 for 33 with two doubles, three home runs, six RBI and seven runs scored.

Aaron West, 22, RHP, Tri-City.  West gave up just two hits and struck out seven, while pitching seven scoreless innings for the ValleyCats.

Who is the Farmstros Five #5 for Week 16



Rayderson Chevalier, 17, RHP, DSL Astros. Chevalier went five scoreless innings in his start.  He struck out eight and surrendered two hits.

Jose Cisnero, 23, RHP, Oklahoma City. Cisnero pitched a nine-inning complete game for Corpus Christi.  He allowed only five hits and one run, striking out seven.  He has since been promoted to AAA.

Jarred Cosart, 22, RHP, Oklahoma City.  Cosart, like Cisnero. has been called up from AA to Oklahoma City. In his start for Corpus Christi this week, Cosart pitched 7 2/3 scoreless.  He gave up only three hits in the outing.

Delino DeShields, 19, 2B, Lexington.  DeShields was 12 for 32 with three doubles, one home run, eight runs scored and five stolen bases.

Enderson Franco, 19, RHP, GCL Astros.  Franco pitched a seven-inning, complete game shutout.  His opponents only reached him for six hits.

Mike Kvasnicka, 23, C/OF, Lexington.  Kvasnicka was 10 for 29 on the week. He had two doubles, four home runs and 14 RBI for the Legends.

George Springer, 22, OF, Lancaster.  Springer was 10 for 24 on the week with one double, one triple and five RBI.

BDQ for the Masses?

After the recently completed Base Differential Quotient(BDQ) experiment, I'm not sure how insightful or innovative the statistic that I invented is.  I DO KNOW that the current format is not very friendly for the casual fan, who may want to track this statistic only every once in a while.  Computation of the statistic requires one to look at every box score thoroughly. 

In light of this fact, I have created a modified BDQ calculator.  This calculator uses a less thorough than the formula the one I used in the experiment.(It drops SF, SH, GIDP, Two-out RBI and Two-out LOB).  Further, I have ordered the statistics categories so that they match the order given on the MiLB.com player pages.  This should make it easier to input numbers to figure out a particular player's BDQ for a month, two months or a whole season.  (NOTE: You will need to separately calculate the number of singles.)

I think that even with these changes, the statistic still gives an idea of how successful an offensive player is at moving runners towards home plate.  Feel free to use the modified calculator and give me your feedback.

Who's in the Hooks' and RedHawks' Starting Rotation?

With all the moves of late, here is a look at who is in the starting rotation at AA and AAA:
Order is TBD

Oklahoma City
Rudy Owens
Jarred Cosart
Jose Cisnero
Brian Bass
Brett Oberholtzer

My understanding (based originally on an @subber10 tweet) is that Armando Galarraga is coming up to Houston to take Wandy Rodriguez's spot.

Corpus Christi
Paul Clemens
Rob Rasmussen
Asher Wojciechowski
Ross Seaton
Matthew Heidenreich

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

On August 11: Join Jason Schwartz in San Jose

On Saturday, August 11, Farmstros will hosting its third annual Game Listening Twitter experience during Lancaster's game at San Jose.  The event is an opportunity to gather around the electronic devices, log into Twitter and listen to Jason Schwartz's call of a JetHawks game.  There will hopefully be some prizes given out during the game.  More details to come.

If you are available that night please Join Jason Scwartz in San Jose (#JJSNSJ).

The 2012 Media Guide is Taking a Beating

When the 2012 Astros' Media Guide was printed in March. Editor Steve Grande probably assumed that changes on the team would make portions of the book out of date by the end of the season.  However, the trade deadline is still a six days away, and thanks to Jeff Luhnow's transactions, the guide is already bordering on the obsolete. 

With the completion of yesterday's trade with Pittsburgh, ten players listed on the 40-man roster in the media guide have departed the organization.  Those players took with them the 33 pages dedicated to their careers in the guide.  Additionally, Wandy Rodriguez's image graces the cover of the book. 

Digging a little deeper, at best count, 46 players documented by Grande and his staff as members of the Astros' minor league system in March 2012(this includes six non-roster invitees to Spring Training) have moved on and are no longer a part of the Houston organization.

Fernando Abad is Now the Elder Statesman in the System

Now that the Sayonara Boys have carried Wandy Rodriguez out of Minute Maid Park for good(at least until he returns to pitch for the Pirates this weekend), a new left-hander takes the mantle as the longest-tenured member of the Houston organization.  While Wesley Wright has been with the big league club for the longest time(since December 2007), Fernando Abad, 26, will be celebrating his 10th anniversary as an Astros' employee on September 6 of this year. 

The Top 15
Fernando Abad employee since September 2002
Arcenio Leon employee since February 2005
David Martinez employee since March 2005
Brandon Barnes employee since June 2005
Brian Bogusevic employee since July 2005
Henry Villar employee since July 2005
Dayan Diaz employee since October 2005
Jose Trinidad employee since February 2006
Jorge DeLeon employee since May 2006
Bud Norris employee since June 2006
Chris Johnson employee since June 2006
Sergio Perez employee since July 2006
Emilio King employee since July 2006
Carlos Quevedo employee since July 2006
Luis Alvarez employee since September 2006





Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Watch Out, Cardinals, The Astros are Coming for You

While there's a chance that a few Astro affiliates could meet Cardinal affiliates in the minor league play-offs in about six weeks, the most direct opportunity for the Houston organization to close out its National League rivalry with St. Louis on a winning note is shaping up in Florida's Gulf Coast League.  With a double-header sweep of the GCL Cardinals on Tuesday, the second place GCL Astros pulled to within five games of the Cardinals, who currently lead the Gulf Coast League's East Division. 

Including Tuesday's games, the GCL Astros have won eight of their last 13 games to get to the .500 mark for the season(16-16).  The Astros and Cardinals are scheduled to face each other eight times in the final 28 contests of the summer.

Correa Blows Past Mario Mendoza with Four Hits

Carlos Correa had the best offensive day of his professional career Tuesday in Florida. The Astros' #1 pick in the 2012 draft belted his first home run as an Astro. He also had three singles, a walk and an RBI in seven plate appearances. Correa's performance came during a double-header sweep by the GCL Astros over the Cardinals' Gulf Coast League entry.

Correa raised his over-all batting average by 31 points on the day from (.180 to .211). Since returning from a groin injury that sidelined him for a little over a week, Correa is now 9 for 30 with with doubles, one home run and two RBI.

Monday, July 23, 2012

It Looks Like the Legends Got the Memo about Mandatory Post-Season Attendance

Apparently not wanting to be left watching their fellow affiliates play in the 2012 post-season, Lexington has won 11 of their last 13 games to creep back into the South Atlantic League Southern Division 2nd Half race.  The Legends knocked off Augusta Monday night leaving them two games behind division leaders, Rome and Charleston. 

Over-all, Lexington is 54 and 46 in 2012.  They finished 7 1/2 games out of first place with a 39-30 record in the season's first half.

Jim Callis Chimes in on the Astros' trade with Toronto

Jim Callis of Baseball America led off his Ask BA offering today with his take on Houston's 10-player trade with Toronto

BDQ Experiment- A Summary

For those of who you who have been following the BDQ experiment I have been conducting with the Lancaster JetHawks, it wrapped up with the JetHawks game Friday night.  The JetHawks were 15-13 with 6.5 runs scored per game during the test period. A few thoughts on the results.

What is BDQBase Displacement Quotient is a formula used to determine how much a player moves himself and his teammates around the bases towards home plate during his plate appearances. A player's BDQ indicates the average number of bases moved up per plate appearance.  For example, during the test, Domingo Santana had a .760 BDQ.  I would interpret this to mean that on average when Santana came to the plate runners moved up a total of .76 bases.

Springer and Santana were good.  George Springer(.798) and Domingo Santana(.760) had the highest Base Displacement Quotient on the team during the test period.  Their more traditional numbers, Springer batted over .400 with 25 RBI and Santana was in the .340 range with 35 RBI, are in line with their BDQs. 

What Do you do with Two-Outs? One statistic that was added to the equation that I think added some insight was performance with runners in scoring position and two outs. Santana produced more in this situation than Springer.  This helped him close the gap in BDQ.

Double Plays Kill Rallies, and BDQ.  I set up the equation to have extra "punishment" for a player who Grounds into a Double Play.  During the experiment Kike Hernandez had a .671 BDQ.  If he hadn't ground into six Double Plays, his BDQ would have been .737.

What Statistic I would add if I Had All the Time in the World.  This experiment was conducted by gathering numbers from the JetHawks' daily box scores.  It would be more time consuming but more thorough if a line were factored in to give players credit when they move a runner or runners up a base on a ground out or a non-sacrifice fly fly out.

NOTE:  I am planning a second post on BDQ with some thoughts on how it could be modified to be used on a more casual basis.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Could a disabled P be the PTBNL?

As @77340fan pointed out to me on Twitter, the PTBNL in two most recent trades could currently be on the Blue Jays' and/or White Sox' Disabled List.  I'm not sure how likely this is, but since @77340fan brought it up, here are players currently on the disabled list for Chicago and Toronto's affiliates.  I have only included players 24 years of age or younger.

Toronto
Travis D'Arnaud, C, 23, AAA(D'Arnaud was the Blue Jays' #1 prospect per BA before this season.)
Luis Hurtado, C, 23, AAA
A.J. Jimenez, C, 22, AA
Sean Nolin, LHP, 22, High A
Andy Burns, SS, 21, Low A
Markus Brisker, OF, 21, Low A
Tom Robson, RHP, 19, Rookie
Colton Turner, LHP, 21, Rookie
Eric Phillips, IF, 22, Short Season A

Chicago White Sox
Nestor Molina, RHP, 23, AA(Molina was Chicago's #2 prospect per BA before this season.)
Jon Gilmore, 3B, 23, AA
Ryan Buch, RHP, 24, High A
Nick Coli, OF, 24, High A
Ross Wilson, OF, 23, High A
Mark Haddow, OF, 24, Low A
Timothy Kiley, RHP, 23, Rookie


Quevedo is Fitting in Nicely in the California League

With two perfect innings Saturday night, JetHawks pitcher Carlos Quevedo continued to show that he is adjusting to life on the mounds of the California League quite nicely. Since being promoted from Lexington earlier this month, the 22 year-old right-hander has pitched 11 1/3 scoreless innings for the JetHawks.  Quevedo has only allowed four hits and one walk during that stretch, striking out 14.  With the inclusion of his last few appearances with the Legends, Quevedo has not allowed a run in 17 1/3 innings.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

If the PTBNL is a White Sox 2011 Draft Pick

Only three of the players that the White Sox drafted in 2011 signed after July 21 last year.  If the Astros and White Sox are waiting to announce the PTBNL of the Brett Myers trade until one year after that player signed, here are the three candidates:

25th Round- Chris Devenski, 21, RHP, signed on August 5, currently with Kannapolis

30th Round- Brandon Parrent, 22, LHP, signed on July 29, currently with Great Falls

33rd Round- Bryce Mosier, 19, C, signed on July 28, currently with Great Falls

Players in Bold have played for a White Sox affiliate since the trade was made.

Valley Cats Success Starts with the Starters

After Friday night's win, Tri-City has a 24-8 record and is threatening to run away with the Stedler Division title of the New York-Penn League.  One key to the Valley Cats' start has been the solid work of their starting rotation. 

A total of seven pitchers have made starts for Tri-City to this point:  Vincent Velasquez(6), Aaron West(6), Brady Rodgers(5), Brian Holmes(5), Joe Bircher(5), Juri Perez(4), and Lance Day(1).  Over 32 starts, these pitchers have posted a miniscule ERA of 1.93.  The combined statistics of the Tri-City rotation?  Innings Pitched-158 2/3; Hits allowed-130; Earned Runs Allowed-34; Walks-42; Strikeouts-139; WHIP- 1.08.

Friday, July 20, 2012

If the PTBNL is a Blue Jays' 2011 Draft Pick

12 of the first 18 players Toronto drafted in 2011 signed after July 20, 2011.  This means that any of them could theoretically be the Player to Be Named Later the Astros will receive in Friday's trade.  If the PTBNL was a 2011 draft pick, he would be eligible to come to Houston one year after his signing date.

The 12 (in order of selection):

Over-all Pick, Name, Age, Position, Signing Date, Current Assignment, BA Ranking

35, Jacob Anderson, 19, OF, August 12, Bluefield, #21
53, Dwight Smith, Jr., 19, OF, August 14, Bluefield, #16
57, Kevin Comer, 19, RHP, August 17, Bluefield, #17
74, Daniel Norris, 19, LHP, August 15, Bluefield, #4
78, Jeremy Gabryszwski, 19, RHP, July 27, Bluefield
108, John Stilson, 21, RHP, August 14, New Hampshire, #26
139, Tom Robson, 19, RHP, August 12, Bluefield-Disabled
199, Anthony DeSclafani, 22, RHP, August 14, Lansing
229, Christian Lopes, 19, IF, August 15, Bluefield, #29
259, Mark Biggs, 19, RHP, August 14, GCL Blue Jays
349, Andy Burns, 21, SS, July 27, Lansing-Disabled
409, Matthew Dean, 19, 3B, August 15, Bluefield, #11

Players in BOLD have played for a Toronto affiliate since the trade was made.

JetHawks on Course for a WILD Finish

After losing Thursday night to San Jose, Lancaster is still atop the California League South Division's Wild-Card standingss by two and one half games.  There are still 43 games on the JetHawks' schedule, so determining magic numbers is still premature at this point in time. 

High Desert and Lake Elsinore are currently ahead of third-place Lancaster in over-all record.  High Desert is in line to make the play-offs as the first half champion. Meanwhile if the standings don't change in the next six weeks, Lake Elsinore would make the 2012 play-offs as the second half champion. Such a scenario would put the JetHawks into the post-season as the divisonal wild card.  The wild card team plays the division's second half champion in the first round of the play-offs.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

In OKC, it's Christmas in July, and There are Runs Under the Tree

With their 9-8 win tonight over Omaha, Oklahoma City is 12 and 4 thus far in July. The RedHawks offense has been quite generous to their pitchers during the month, averaging more than seven runs a game thus far in July. The month's offensive standouts(Through Thursday's game):

Brandon Barnes- 20 for 51 (.392); four doubles, one triple, two home runs and 13 RBI.

Fernando Martinez- 20 for 63 (.317); three doubles, one triple, three home runs and 11 RBI.

Jimmy Paredes- 21 for 55 (.382); two doubles, one triple, three home runs and nine RBI.

Landon Powell- 8 for 21 (.381); two doubles, two home runs and eight RBI.

J.B. Shuck- 14 for 35 (.400); four doubles, seven RBI, nine runs scored.

Brett Wallace- 21 for 54 (.389); one double, one home run, 13 runs scored.

2012 Farmstros Five- Week #15(Pelotero Edition)

Since the documentary Ballplayer: Pelotero was released last Friday, this week's Farmstros Five is focused on the approximately 70 players in the Houston organization who found their way to professional baseball through the Dominican pipeline.

Here is the Farmstros Five for the week of July 12-18, 2012 (Pelotero edition):

The Top Four:

Rayderson Chevalier, 17, RHP, DSL Astros. (Signed by Houston in 2012) Chevalier allowed two hits and no earned runs on the week. He pitched six innings and struck out five.

Fernando Martinez, 23, OF, Oklahoma City. (Signed by New York Mets in 2005) Martinez was 11 for 28 for the RedHawks. He had two doubles, two home runs and six RBI.

Francis Ramirez, 20, RHP, Greeneville. (Signed by Houston in 2008) Ramirez pitched twice for Greeneville on the week. He completed 10 innings, allowed seven hits and one run and struck out 17.

Domingo Santana, 19, OF, Lancaster. (Signed by Philadelphia in 2008) Santana had 12 RBI for the JetHawks. He was 8 for 23 with two doubles and three RBI.

Who is the Farmstros Five #5 For Week 15?

Michael Feliz, 19, RHP, GCL Astros. (Signed by Houston in 2010) Feliz allowed two runs and six hits while striking out 12 in 10 IP.

Teoscar Hernandez, 19, OF, GCL Astros. (Signed by Houston in 2011) Hernandez homered in three straight games.  He was 6 for 23 with two doubles, one triple, three home runs and seven RBI.

Darwin Rivera, 20, IF, GCL Astros. (Signed by Houston in 2008)  Rivera was 10 for 22 with two doubles, one home run and six RBI.

Frederick Tiburcio, 21, RHP, Greeneville. (Signed by Houston in 2008) Tiburcio pitched seven innings, allowed three hits and one run, and struck out nine.

I Wonder How the RedHawks Like Having Kevin Durant as a Neighbor?

This post started as an attempt to satisfy my curiousity about if/how much Oklahoma City's winning ways have led to increased attendance at RedHawks' home games in 2012.  However, in trying to find an answer to this question, I stumbled across a more interesting factor that appears to have negatively affected RedHawks' tickets sales the last three plus seasons.  A factor that wears shorts.

From 2004-2008, Oklahoma City, then a Rangers' affiliate, averaged around 7000 fans in attendance per home date.  The lowest attendance during the span occurred in 2008 (6530), one of three seasons in that stretch when the RedHawks won their division. 

Following the 2008 season, the Oklahoma City Thunder, of the NBA, came to town and RedHawks' ticket sales dropped noticeably.  In fact, from 2009-2011, the AAA baseball team averaged about 5300 in attendance.  I thought the nearly 25 percent drop in attendance may have been caused by poor play on the field, but as you can see from the table below, the lower attendance was evident even when the RedHawks won their division in 2010.

I am sure numerous factors can affect attendance at a minor league ballpark.  However, I can't help but wonder if the RedHawks would rather Kevin Durant was playing in Seattle.

2004- 81-63 (1st place)-  474,206
2005- 80-63 (1st place)-  542,095
2006- 74-70 (2nd place)- 526,932
2007- 71-72 (3rd place)-  529,960
2008- 76-68 (1st place)-   470,140

2009- 69-75 (2nd place)- 397,219
2010- 73-70 (1st place)- 367,092
2011- 68-75 (4th place)- 378,877

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Will Wins in the PCL = Wins in the AL West? Let's Ask Oakland

As play begins today, the Oklahoma City RedHawks lead the PCL's American Conference South Division by one game.  The RedHawks are in the running to become the first Astros' AAA affiliate to win a divison title since Round Rock won the American Conference South in 2006. 

Since Round Rock's title in 2006, Sacramento has been by far the winningest team in the Pacific Coast League.  Sacramento has won five straight Pacific Conference South Division titles from 2007-2011(and are well on their way to another in 2012).  They have posted a .584 winning percentage in the regular season and advanced to four PCL Championship Series in that time frame, winning two.  Interestingly, Sacramento's manager in four of those five campaigns was current RedHawks' skipper, Tony DeFrancesco.

Unfortunately for the Oakland faithful however, all those AAA victories have not counted for much in Network Associates Stadium, where Sacramento's parent club, the A's play.  From the start of 2008 through last night's games, the A's have struggled to a .476 winning average(351 W, 386 L).  During this five-year span of AAA success, Oakland has never finished a season over .500. 

Tucker Added to Fold

According to Jim Callis, outfielder Preston Tucker has signed with Houston for $100,000.  The signing wraps up the Astros' 2012 draft class.  The team signed 31 of the 41 players they selected over-all and 19 of the first 20 players they drafted.  According to my calculations, Houston went over the  the MLB-allotted amount for use in signing the first 11 players they picked by $157,500.  This excess will not cost the Astros a 2013 draft pick, but it will cost them $118,125 in tax.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Do Minor League Wins Foreshadow Big League Wins? Let's ask 2006

It has been reported in several spaces that at this point in the season, the Astros' top four affiliates have the fourth-best combined record in baseball. It has been six years since the Astros' farm system experienced this much success in the win and loss columns. In 2006, all eight affiliates finished the season with a winning record and five of them made the play-offs. Three of those five advanced to their league's championship series and the AA Corpus Christi Hooks won the Texas League championship.

However, the seeds of a winning that were planted on the farm in 2006 didn't bear much fruit on the Major League level. Entering Tuesday night's game at San Diego, the Astros have played 898 games since the end of the 2006 season and won only 398- a .443 winning percentage.

The 2006 Farm:

 AAA- Round Rock- 85-59- The Express advanced to the PCL Championship Series.

AA- Corpus Christi- 76-63- The Hooks won the Texas League Championship.

High A- Salem- 76-61- The Avalanche lost in the first round of the Carolina League play-offs.

Low A- Lexington-75-63- The Legends lost in the first round of the South Atlantic League play-offs.

Short Season- Tri-City, Greeneville, the DSL Astros and the Venezuelan League Astros all had winning records. Tri-City lost in the NYPL championship series.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Brett Wallace was Mainly a 3B for the Cardinals

Monday night, for the second time in five days, Brett Wallace started at shortstop for Oklahoma City.  Wallace had never played shortstop before in a little over four years as a professional. 

Wallace has also played a substantial amount of time at third base this season for the RedHawks.  Interestingly, during the first two seasons of his career, he was primarily a third baseman, spending very little time at first base.  In 2008 and 2009, Wallace was a third baseman for a total of 164 games in the St. Louis and Oakland farm systems.  He made 23 errors at the hot corner.  He only played first base 14 times during that time frame.

On Day Correa returns, Phillips, Lo and Hernandez Steal Florida Spotlight

Number one pick Carlos Correa returned to the GCL Astros' lineup for the first time since June 6; however, three of his teammates stole the spotlight in a 5-4 victory over the Cardinals Monday.  Correa, who had been out with a groin injury, went 0 for 3 and scored one run.
Brett Phillips won the game with a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth inning.  He drove in Teoscar Hernandez.  In addition to scoring the winning run, Hernandez hit a three-run home run in the fourth inning to provide half of the GCL Astros' scoring.  The starting pitcher for the Astros was Chia-jen Lo.  Lo continued his impressive rehab work in Florida with two scoreless innings, allowing only one hit.  In seven outings this summer, Lo has pitched a total of 10 scoreless frames.  He has allowed only five hits, walking two and striking out 11.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Hold-Off on Those Post Labor Day Plans

In recent seasons, the Farmstros Village has gotten accustomed to moving on to other interests directly after the minor league regular season ends.  However, there is a good chance that that habit will need to change after the 2012 season, as play-off games are a distinct possibility.

Heading into Sunday's games, the standing of four of the Astros' affiliates would land them in their league's play-offs.  A fifth team enters play one half game out of a play-off spot.  Since 2008, only the 2010 Tri-City Valley Cats have represented the Astros in the post-season.

Greeneville is in second place in the Appalachian League's West Division.  The top two teams in each division make the play-offs.

Tri-City, on the strength of their hot start, currently leads the Stedler Divsion of the Stedler Division.

Lancaster is leading the race for the wild-card spot from the California League South Division.  The team from each division in the league who has the best over-all record without winning the first or second half title earns this spot.

Corpus Christi leads the second half standings for the South Division of the Texas League.

Oklahoma City would not make the play-offs if the season ended today. However, the RedHawks are just one half game behind Albuquerque in the chase for the American Conference, South Division of the Pacific Coast League.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Apparently, "J" is for June, July and Jair

With all due respect to Sesame Street, the impending promotion of catcher Jair Fernandez from Corpus Christi to Oklahoma City (tweeted by @GregRajan) will be brought to you by the letter J.  After Fernandez struggled through April and May with a .167 average, the calendar turned over to a "J" month and Jair jumped into action.  So far in June and July, he is batting .325(25 for 77) and has raised his over-all average with the Hooks to .264.  He has five doubles, four home runs and 16 RBI  in June and July.

In case you're wondering, Fernandez's new team, Oklahoma City has 17 games left on their schedule before they leave the J's behind and move into August.

 

Friday, July 13, 2012

McCullers makes Pro Debut

Astros' 2012 draft pick Lance McCullers, Jr. pitched three scoreless innings in his pro debut in Florida Friday.  McCullers, who attended high school in Tampa, Florida pitched against Washington's GCL entry. 

He faced a total of 11 batters in the outing:

Ground Outs- 2
Infield Pop Outs- 2
Outfield Flyouts- 2
Outfield Lineouts- 1
Strikeouts- 2
Hits allowed- 1 single
Runners reached on infield error- 1

Documentary Takes Viewers Behind the Curtain of Dominican Baseball

When I sat down to watch Ballplayer: Pelotero, a documentary which opens Friday in Houston and other select cities as well as on iTunes VOD, I knew virtually nothing about the process by which Dominican ballplayers are scouted and signed by Major League baseball teams. 75 minutes later, I am still by no means an expert on the subject, but I certainly have a greater understanding of the system which produces about 20 percent of all the professional baseball players in North America.




Ballplayer:Pelotero  documents the journey of two of the top 16-year old prospects in the Dominican Republic as they approach July 2, 2009, the day that they can first sign with a Major League team. The film makers introduce viewers to Jean Carlos Batista, currently with the Greeneville Astros and Miguel Sano, currently Minnesota’s top minor league prospect. Many aspects of their recruitment process are explored from parents with their hopes of escaping poverty resting on their 16-year old sons’ shoulders to investigations into allegations of age fraud. Interestingly for fans of the Astros’ farm system, a substantial portion of the narrative focuses on the relationship between Batista, whose father died at the age of 10, and Astin Jacobo, Jr. Jacobo serves as Batista’s trainer and surrogate father. During the documentary, Batista boards at Jacobo’s baseball academy along with numerous other young Dominican baseball hopefuls.

How does Major League Baseball fit into this picture? It is depicted as a monopoly in the business of getting quality merchandise out of the country while keeping the price of purchasing this merchandise as cost-effective as possible. One scene that aptly highlights this characterization occurs when Felix Francisco, the Astros’ Director of Latin American Operations, discusses the club’s negotiations with Batista. These negotiations have an intriguing plot twist, which gives fans of the Astros of the Future new information about Batista to consider.

Currently, approximately 70 players in the Astros’ system were born in the Dominican Republic. Ballplayer: Pelotero let me see the story of one of those young men, Batista. However, the documentary also gave me a new insight into the road those players traveled to become professional baseball players. If you are interested in learning more about the inner workings of baseball in the Dominican Republic, Ballplayer: Pelotero is definitely worth the investment.

NOTE: For the sake of full disclosure, I was able to view this film for no cost.

c2012 Mike Tauser

A few Changes to the Database

To make it a better resource, I am adding a link to each player's statistics page within the database. Additionally, so I can have a better idea of how many people use the database, users are now required to sign in to access it. There is no fee involved, and I will not share any information with anyone else. If you email your google user name to farmstros@yahoo.com, I will make the necessary adjustments as soon as possible.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Jean Batista Playing in Houston this Week



Shortstop Jean Batista may be on the Greeneville roster at the moment, however, starting Friday, he will be appearing about a ten minute walk from Minute Maid Park.  Batista, from the Dominican Republic, is featured in a documentary about baseball players in that country.  Ballplayer: Pelotero will open in numerous locations around the country Friday, July 13, including downtown Houston at Sundance Cinemas.  The film will also be available Friday via iTunes VOD.

2012 Farmstros Five- Week 14(Short Season Edition)

With the short season schedules well underway, this week's Farmstros Five focuses on those players who are competing for the Astros four short season affiliates, Tri-City, Greeneville, GCL Astros and DSL Astros. 

Here is the Farmstros Five(Short Season Edition) for the week of July 5-11, 2012:

The Top Performer:

Adrian Houser, 19, RHP, Greeneville.  Houser pitched seven scoreless innings in his first start of the week and picked up his first win of the season in the second.  Over-all on the week, he allowed two runs and 10 hits, striking out 14 in 13 IP.

The Next Three

Michael Feliz, 19, RHP, GCL Astros. Feliz pitched eight innings in his start.  He allowed four hits and one run.

Elieser Hernandez, 17, RHP, DSL Astros.  Hernandez, in his first season as a pro, pitched seven innings in his one start this week.  He gave up five hits and one run.

Yonathan Mejia, 19, IF, GCL Astros.  Mejia was 11 for 26 with one double, one home run and six RBI for the GCL Astros.


Who is the Farmstros Five #5 for Week 14?

Andrew Aplin, 21, OF, Tri-City. Aplin was 9 for 24 with two doubles, two RBI and two stolen bases.

Blake Ford, 24, RHP, Tri-City. Ford had two saves in three appearances.  He allowed no hits or runs in three innings, striking out three.

Terrell Joyce, 20, Greeneville. Joyce was 11 for 23 with two doubles, one home run, six RBI, six runs scored and two stolen bases for the G'stros.

Jesse Wierzbicki, 23, IF, Tri-City. Wierzbicki was 9 for 20 with one double, two home runs and four RBI.

My Goodness! We've got Ourselves a Natural Disaster!

Talk about life imitating art! 

I had to check my calendar to make sure it wasn't April 1 when I saw the explanation for Lancaster's game with Visalia being canceled Wednesday night.  According to a release sent out by the JetHawks, "An overnight irrigation problem soaked the field and it was deemed to be unplayable jsut before game time." Wednesday's contest will be made up as part of a doubleheader Friday in Visalia.

When I read about the postponement, it was all I could do to keep from running to my neighborhood Blockbuster and renting Bull Durham for the night.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Player Development Agreement Update- Short Season A

The Astros' Player Development Agreement with Short Season A Tri-City expires at the end of the 2012 season.  Here is a look at the Short Season A affiliates who at this time are scheduled to become available this off-season.

(AAA Player Development Agreement Update)

(High A Player Development Agreement Update)

(Low A Player Development Agreement Update)

Who's Up for Renewal?

New York-Penn League


Houston has been affiliated with Tri-City of the NYPL since 2001.

Aberdeen Iron Birds- affiliated with Baltimore since 2002.  Operated by Ripken Baseball, LLC.

Batavia Muckdogs- affiliated with St. Louis since 2007.  Operated by Red Wings Management, LLC.

Hudson Valley Renegades- affiliated with Tampa Bay since 1996.  Operated by Keystone Baseball Club, Inc.

Jamestown Jammers- affiliated with Miami since 2002.  Operated by Rich Baseball Operations.

State College Spikes- affiliated with Pittsburgh since 2007.  Operated by Spikes Baseball, LLP.

Tri-City Valley Cats- affiliated with Houston since 2001.  Operated by Tri-City ValleyCats, Inc.


Northwest League

As far as I can tell, the Astros have never had an affiliate in the Northwest League.

Boise Hawks- affiliated with Chicago Cubs since 2001.  Operated by Boise Baseball, LLC.

Eugene Emeralds- affiliated with San Diego since 2001.  Operated by Elmore Sports Group, Ltd.

Yakima Bears- affiliated with Arizona since 2001.  Operated by Short Season LLC.

DeShields Powers Legends to Win

Delino DeShields, Jr. didn't steal any bases Wednesday for Lexington, but his bat provided all the runs the Legends would need against Kannapolis.  DeShields, who has a franchise record 64 stolen bases already this season, hit a three-home run in the bottom of the fifth during an afternoon contest at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.  The Legends went on to win the contest, 3-2.

Don't Say "Goodbye"...Just say "See You Later"

With the completion of the all-star game Tuesday night, the Astros can get down to the business of closing out their time in the National League in earnest.  If you see Jim Crane at Target in the next few months, he is probably buying parting gifts for the 12 teams the Astros are still scheduled to play in the National League(They have already wrapped up their double-switch enhanced competition with the Marlins, Dodgers, and Rockies).

Although the Astros will no longer be in the National League after 2012, thanks to inter-league play, this summer's "farewell" tour will in actuality be a "see you later" tour.  Exactly which National League teams Houston will play in inter-league competition from year to year is not known. However, following is a look at who their future division rival, Texas, has played over the past 16 years of inter-league play.  Given the geographical proximity of the Astros and the Rangers and the fact that the two clubs will be in the same division, I think this breakdown of the past 16 years gives an idea of how the Astros' inter-league schedule of the future might shake out.

WHAT NATIONAL LEAGUE TEAMS DID THE RANGERS PLAY?(1997-2012):

Houston- 72 games
Arizona- 25
San Diego- 25
San Francisco-25
Colorado-22
Los Angeles-19
Atlanta-15
Miami-15
Pittsburgh-12
Chicago-9
Cincinnati-9
New York-9
Philadelphia-9
Washington-9
Milwaukee-6
St. Louis-3

NL West-116 games

NL East- 57 games

NL Central- 111 games(39 games, not including Houston)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

More on Skeeters Becoming an Affiliate

To follow up on some responses to a previous post about what would be involved in the Sugar Land Skeeters becoming an Astros' affiliate, here is a hypothetical scenario whereby it could happen. 

The AAA scenario-  At some point in the future, Opening Day Partners, who owns the Skeeters, purchases the Las Vegas 51s of the Pacific Coast League from that franchise's current owner with the intent of moving the team to Sugar Land.  The Las Vegas franchise, currently operated by the Stevens Baseball Group, has had among the lowest attendance in the PCL for the last two seasons.  When the Astros' player development agreement with its AAA affiliate expires after a given season, Houston could sign a new player development agreement with Opening Day Partners. This agreement would be possible since ODP would own AAA affiliation rights as a result of their purchase of the Las Vegas team.  There are a restricted number of affiliation rights(AAA has 30).

I assume that there is an approval process involved at the PCL (and perhaps MLB) level to approve the sale and movement of a franchise. One issue during this process would be the size of Constellation Field.  My  understanding is that the Skeeters have 6000 fixed seats. I know that Round Rock was required to expand Dell Diamond when they moved up from AA to AAA.  I am not sure of the exact number, but Dell Diamond was expanded to more than 10,000 fixed seats. If Opening Day Partners could overcome its size issue(expand its stadium) and be approved, the Las Vegas team could move to Sugar Land, where it would be the Astros' AAA affiliate. 

This scenario assumes that Opening Day Partners, who currently owns four teams in the independent Atlantic League including the Skeeters, would be interested in having one of its franchises become affiliated, and the Astros would be interested in partnering with them at some point in the future.  However, Sugar Land is not the only option.

Another entity could build a stadium for a team in different location in the Houston area.  In light of the fact that Atlanta's AAA affiliate Gwinnett County (population 800,000) is less than a one-hour drive from Turner Field,  it is reasonable to think that communities such as The Woodlands, Katy, Pearland, Kingwood, Conroe and Baytown among others could be legitimate candidates for such a venture.



DSL Astros Will Send a Righty and a Lefty to All-Star Game

Two starters from the DSL Astros' rotation have been selected to participate in this Sunday's DSL All-Star Game. Left-hander Edwin Villarroel, 17, and right-hander Samil De Los Santos, 18, will be on a team of players representing the Dominican Republic's National League affiliates. Villarroel has made seven starts in his first season with the Astros. He has a 2.20 ERA in 41 IP. De Los Santos has a 1.82 ERA in 34 2/3 IP. He has made six appearances, five of them starts.

JetHawks BDQ Experiment Update

With 10 days left in my BDQ(Base Displacement Quotient) analysis, and with the JetHawks having an off-day Tuesday, here are a few thoughts about the results of the statisticial experiment to this point.

The JetHawks have gone 9-10 in their 19 games since the All-Star Break with a team BDQ of .573.  George Springer leads the club with a BDQ of .840.  In more traditional offensive categories he is batting .423(30 for 71) with 10 extra-base hits and 15 RBI. On the negative side,Springer has 20 strikeouts, and he has left a team-high 15 runners on base with two outs during the last 19 games.

Other BDQ leaders for the JetHawks are Grant Hogue(.816), Kike Hernandez(.715), Erik Castro(.705), and Domingo Santana(.670).  The lowest scores for regulars are Jonathan Meyer's .343 and Rene Garcia's .233.

BDQ is intended to be a measure of how many bases up a given player moves himself and his teammates during the course of his team's at bats. This BDQ experiment is being conducted during 29 Lancaster JetHawks' games(June 21- July 20).

BDQ= ((Singles x 1.4) + (Doubles x 2.75) + (Triples x 3.25) + (Home Runs x 4.9) + (RBI x 0.2) + (Runs x 0.15) + walks/HBP + (Stolen Bases x 1.15) + (Sac Hits x 0.4)  + (Sac Flies x 0.35) + (2 out RBI x 0.5) - (Caught Stealing/pick-offs x 1.15) - (strikeouts x 0.6) - (GIDP x 1.1) -  (2 Out LOB x 0.2))/ Total Plate Appearances

JetHawks go 1 for 9 with Bases Loaded, Win Game Anyway

Erik Castro's grand slam in the bottom of the seventh inning gave the JetHawks an 8-4 lead Monday night.  They went on to win the game 8-5, sweeping a three-game series with Stockton, despite going hitless in eight other bases loaded opportunities during the contest.

Monday, July 9, 2012

New Player for DSL Astros Homers in First At Bat

I know absolutely nothing about Hector Roa, the newest player on the roster of the DSL Astros. Nothing that is except that he is a switch-hitter and he homered today in his first at bat as part of the Astros' organization.

Roa went deep in the bottom of the second inning of a contest against the DSL Cardinals. As a team, the DSL Astros have 11 home runs in 31 games this season.

NOTE:  On Tuesday morning, MiLB.com has updated its information on Roa.   It turns out he is a 17-year old right-handed hitting outfielder.

Player Development Agreement Update- What About the Skeeters?

Every once in a while, I run across or am asked directly the question about Sugar Land's Skeeters becoming an Astros' affiliate in the future.  My understanding is that the Atlantic League, in which the Skeeters play, is intent on expanding into a new part of the country with Sugar Land as the first team in its Western Division.  If this plan comes to fruition, the Skeeters as an Astros affiliate would not be possible.

Having said that, here is a quick synopsis of what would need to happen for the Skeeters or some other newly-created Houston area baseball franchise to become an Astros' AA or AAA affiliate(Note the Astros are contractually obligated to Corpus Christi as a AA affiliate through 2014.  They are only obligated to Oklahoma City as a AAA affiliate through 2012):

1.  The owner of the new franchise would need to find a franchise in the Pacific Coast League or the Texas League which is for sale.  I assume that for travel reasons, these two leagues are the only options. As an example of the logisitical difficulties of being in any other leagues, a Houston-area team in the Southern League would need to travel to the Jackson, Mississippi area(almost 500 miles) to meet their closest league rivals.

2.  The owner of the franchise would need to buy that franchise with the intent of moving it to Sugar Land(or another Houston-area location).  The Ryan-Sanders Group went through this process twice. First, they bought the AA franchise in Jackson, Mississippi, which was then in the Texas League. The Jackson Generals moved to Round Rock as an Astros' AA affiliate.  A few years later, the owners of the Express bought the franchise in Edmonton and moved that franhcise to Round Rock as an Astros AAA affiliate.  The AA franchise was consequently moved to Corpus Christi.

Singleton Chips in at Futures' Game

Corpus Christi first baseman Jon Singleton did his part as the United States team obliterated the World team in the MLB Futures' Game 17-5 Sunday. Singleton reached base in four of his five plate appearances with a walk and three singles. He scored two runs and had one RBI. Singleton played five innings at first base and four innings in left field. He was caught stealing one time.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

This Bridgeport Bluefish Used to be a Farmstro

Apparently, the Farmstros Time Tunnel between my home and Sugar Land is still active. Six weeks ago, the anomaly allowed me watch John Halama pitch for the Lancaster Barnstormers against the Skeeters.  Tonight, after driving through it, I saw Jason Lane play right field for Sugar Land and hit a home run. BUT that was not the best part of my most recent time tunnel experience. 

The starting pitcher for SugarLand's opponent, Bridgeport, was Raymar Diaz.  The 6'7" right-hander is in his second season with Bridgeport.  He got the win by pitching six innings and allowing just three runs, including a two-run homer by Lane. 

Diaz, 28, was originally drafted by the Astros in 2002.  He peaked out in the organization at High A, spending all of 2007 and 2008 and part of 2006 with Lexington.  In 2006, between Salem and Lexington, Diaz had a 2.72 ERA over a combined 142 1/3 IP. He has bounced around various independent leagues since leaving the Astros' system after 2008.

Player Development Agreement Update- Low A

The Astros' Player Development Agreement with Low A Lexington expires at the end of the 2012 season. Here is a look at all the Low A affiliates who at this time are scheduled to become available this off-season.

(AAA player development agreement update)

(High A player development agreement update)

Who's Up for renewal?  Midwest League

The Astros' most recent Midwest League affiliate was the Michigan Battle Cats(1999-2002).

Beloit Snappers- affiliated with Minnesota since 2005.  Operated by Beloit Professional Baseball Association Inc.

Burlington Bees- affiliated with Oakland since 2011.  Operated by Burlington Baseball Association, Inc.

Cedar Rapids Kernels- affiliated with Los Angeles Angels since 1993.  Operated by Cedar Rapids Ball Club Inc.


Fort Wayne TinCaps- affiliated with San Diego since 1999.  Operated by Hardball Capital.

Kane County Cougars- affiliated with Kansas City since 2011.  Operated by Cougars Baseball Partnership.

Peoria Chiefs- affiliated with Chicago Cubs since 2005.  Operated by Peoria Chiefs Community Baseball Club LLC.

Quad Cities River Bandits- affiliated with St. Louis since 2005.  Operated by Main Street Iowa LLC, David Heller, Bob Herrfeldt


South Atlantic League

The Astros have had Lexington, of the SALLY League, as an affiliate since 2001.

Hagerstown Suns- affiliated with Washington since 2007.  Operated by Hagerstown Baseball, LLC.

Lexington Legends- affiliated with Houston since 2001.  Operated by Ivy Walls Management Co.


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Jose Martinez Fuels Hooks Comeback

Jose Martinez took over in the last four innings of Corpus Christi's game at Northwest Arkanas Saturday, and the Hooks left town with a three-game sweep of the Naturals. 

Corpus trailed 3-0 when Martinez stepped to the plate in the top of the sixth inning.  He came through with a two-run triple.  His RBI single in the 7th tied the game at three.  Martinez finished off his night in the ninth by driving in two runs with a single and subsequently scoring the final run in a Hooks' 7-3 victory.

Houser Puts on a Show for Luhnow

Starting pitcher Adrian Houser put on a show for Jeff Luhnow who was in Greeneville Friday night to watch the Greeneville Astros' double-header at Pioneer Park.  Houser, who was the Astros' 2nd round pick in the 2011 draft, allowed just four hits and struck out six, while pitching seven scoreless innings in front of the big league club's general manager.  Houser, 19,  hasn't given up a run in 13 innings and has lowered his 2012 ERA to 2.82 in 22 1/3 IP.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Ross Seaton is on a Roll

Ross Seaton had his longest outing of the season for Corpus Christi Friday night, pitching 8 1/3 scoreless innings at Northwest Arkansas.  Seaton allowed only three hits and two walks and struck out eight.  His Game Score of 83 is sure to earn him a mention somewhere.

Seaton has an ERA of 2.31 over his last five starts for the Hooks.  He has lowered his season ERA from 4.30 to 3.61, while pitching 35 innings and surrendering just 26 hits.

The JetHawks are Going Green



Lancaster is celebrating Going Green tonight at Clear Channel Stadium. JetHawks fans, when you sing the above Green Version of Take Me Out to the Ballgame tonight, make sure JetHawks play-by-play announcer Jason Schwartz can hear you.

Feliz Lowers GCL ERA to 1.16

Michael Feliz continued a solid start to his second summer with the GCL Astros by allowing just four hits and one run over eight innings against the Nationals' GCL entry Friday afternoon.  The outing was the longest of the season so far for the 18 year old right-hander from the Dominican Republic.  He lowered his ERA to 1.16 over 23 1/3 IP.

Information on Dominguez and Rasmussen

FishStripes has a post up which includes in-depth information on Rob Rasmussen and Matt Dominguez.

Apparently, Nolan Fontana Has a Good Eye

Second Round Pick Nolan Fontana walked five times in six plate appearances during his professional debut for Lexington Thursday night.  Fontana, who served as the Legends DH in the contest, batted in a run with a single, stole a base and scored a run in the contest at Hagerstown.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Raul Rivera, a Third Baseman

According to the box score from Thursday's game, the GCL Astros have a new third baseman, and he used to be a pitcher.  Raul Rivera played third base for the Astros in Florida today and went 3 for 4 with one double and one RBI.  Prior to today, Rivera has always been listed as a pitcher. 

He was drafted by the Astros in 2009 as a pitcher out of Puerto Rico.  He missed almost all of 2010 and 2011 with injury.  He had made three appearances on the mound for the GCL Astros this summer.  He pitched four scoreless innings.

NOTE: MiLB.com box score guy has corrected his box score from Thursday.  It turns out the 3B was DARWIN Rivera instead of RAUL Rivera.  Through Friday's game, Darwin is batting .356 with nine RBI.  He spent time with the DSL Astros and Greeneville in 2011. Presumably, RAUL Rivera is still rehabbing as a pitcher.

2012 Farmstros Five- Week 13- Mike Hessman Edition

In honor of Oklahoma City RedHawk Mike Hessman being named to the Pacific Coast League all-star team, this week's Farmstros Five focuses on the more veteran players in the system.  Only players born before October 4, 1987(25 or older at the end of the 2012 Major League season) were eligible for consideration.

Here is the Farmstros Five- Mike Hessman Edition for the week of June 28-July 4, 2012:

Erick Abreu, 28, RHP, Corpus Christi.  La Tortuga made two appearances for the Hooks.  He allowed just one run and two hits, striking out eight in 5 1/3 IP.

Brandon Barnes, 26, OF, Oklahoma City.  Barnes was 7 for 23 with one double, one triple and five RBI.

Grant Hogue, 26, OF, Lancaster.  Hogue was 8 for 19 on the week with seven runs scored, one triple and six stolen bases.

Jose Trinidad, 24, RHP, Lancaster.  Trinidad, who turns 25 on July 13, made a start and a relief appearance for the JetHawks.  He pitched seven scoreless innings in his start.  Over-all, he allowed eight hits and two runs in nine IP.

Brett Wallace, 25, IF, Oklahoma City. Wallace was 9 for 22 with three RBI and four runs for the RedHawks.

As for Mike Hessman, 34,  himself, he missed out on the Farmstros Five for the week.  He was 6 for 27 with three home runs and five RBI.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Valley Cats Post a "7" in the Ninth, and Their Streak Continues

Tri-City extended their winning streak to 11 games with a 7-run ninth inning in Lowell, Massachusetts Tuesday night.  The Valley Cats' rally, which erased a 2-0 deficit, included three stolen bases, three hit batsmen and a dropped fly ball by Lowell's centerfielder.  Tri-City is 13-3 over-all, leading the New York Penn League's Stedler Division by four games.  They take on State College tonight at home.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

June 2012 Farmstros Pitcher of the Month

Who is the June 2012 Farmstros' Pitcher of the Month?



Here are the candidates for the June 2012 Pitcher of the Month:

Jose Cisnero, 23, RHP, Corpus Christi. Cisnero made five starts for the Hooks in June.  He posted a 2.18 ERA in 33 IP, allowing 26 hits and striking out 31.

Murilo Gouvea, 23, RHP, Lexington. Gouvea made 10 relief appearances for Lexington.  He struck out 14 and allowed only five hits.  His ERA in 14 2/3 IP was 0.61.

Evan Grills, 19, LHP, Lexington. Grills had a 1.23 ERA in 14 2/3 IP for the Legends.  He gave up 13 hits and struck out four.

Mickey Storey, 26, RHP, Oklahoma City.  Storey allowed only one earned run over 16 innings.  He struck out 15, posting an 0.56 ERA.

Jose Trinidad, 24, RHP, Lancaster. Trinidad made eight appearances(one start) for the JetHawks.  He only allowed one earned run in 21 IP, an 0.43 ERA.  Trinidad's final appearance of June was his only of start of the month. He pitched seven scoreless innings in the contest.

Nick Tropeano, 21, RHP, Lexington.  Tropeano made five starts for the Legends.  He posted a 2.22 ERA with 30 strikeouts in 28 1/3 IP.  Tropeano was promoted to Lancaster at the end of June and is scheduled to make his first start for the JetHawks on July 1.

Edwin Villarroel, 17, LHP, DSL Astros. Villarroel made five starts in the Dominican.  He posted a 2.03 ERA in 31 IP.

June 2012 Farmstros Player of the Month

Who is the June 2012 Farmstros Player of the Month?

Here are the candidates for the June 2012 Player of the Month:

Brandon Barnes, 26, OF, Oklahoma City.  Barnes was 35 for 105 on the month.  He had nine doubles, three home runs and 17 RBI.

Delino DeShields, 19, IF, Lexington.  DeShields stole 25 bases in June.  He was 30 for 99 with four doubles, one triple, two home runs, 16 RBI and 22 runs scored.

Kike Hernandez, 20, IF, Lancaster. Hernandez was 30 for 91with eight doubles, three triples, one home run and 15 RBI for the JetHawks.

Mike Hessman, 34, 1B, Oklahoma City. Hessman led the organization with 14 home runs in the month.  Over-all, he was 29 for 104 with 27 RBI.

Jose Martinez, 26, 2B, Corpus Christi. Martinez was 34 for 107 in June.  He had eight extra-base hits and 22 RBI for the Hooks.

Jimmy Paredes, 23, 2B, Oklahoma City. Paredes batted .324 in June(35 for 108).  He had four doubles, two triples, two home runs, 15 RBI, 19 runs scored and 11 stolen bases.

Jonathan Villar, 21, SS, Corpus Christi. Villar was 26 for 89.  He had five home runs, 20 RBI and 12 stolen bases.

Has Anybody Seen the MMP Run Expectancy Board Lately?

About two months ago, The Crawfish Boxes posted some pictures of a new feature on the Minute Maid Park scoreboard: A Run Expectancy Board. I went to the Saturday Astros' game against Cleveland(June 23), and as far as I could tell, the feature is no longer part of the scoreboard. Its absence(or my inability to find it) didn't affect my enjoyment of the game. It's hard not to enjoy Dallas Keuchel pitching a complete game shutout in his MMP debut.

None the less, I was curious to see what part the Run Expectancy Board would play in the club's game presentation, and I was looking forward to experiencing this new statistic live for myself. However, as I left the park, I could only wonder what has become of it. If anyone can shed some light on my question I would appreciate it.

Monday, July 2, 2012

News Flash?! The future of the Astros is not a High Priority to Carlos Lee

The word on the street is that the future of the Astros is not a very high priority to Carlos Lee. This is not surprising, especially since a case could be made that, for a good portion of Lee's time with the Astros, the long-term health of the club was not a high priority to the team itself either.

I can't help but wonder how many pages of the tome that Jeff Luhnow presented to Jim Crane and George Postolos during the General Manager interviewing process last year were devoted to how to deal with the Carlos Lee contract situation. I am intrigued to see how the new management team manages this conundrum that they inherited from their predecessors.

There is plenty of disappointment to go around as it pertains to the Carlos Lee era in Houston. However, in my opinion, the team has dropped the ball at least as much as Lee if not moreso in their six-year relationship. Lee signed a six-year contract to, for lack of a better way of putting it, be Carlos Lee for the Astros. The numbers show that he has fulfilled his obligation to the Astros and EARNED the millions of dollars he and the team agreed upon.

Lee's numbers in the eight years before he joined the Astros:

Batting Average- .286
Games- 1203
Doubles- 270
Home Runs- 221
RBI- 782
Slugging- .543
On Base %- .340
AB/Strikeout- 7.0
AB/Home Runs- 20.7
AB/RBI- 5.8

For comparison, Lee's numbers in 5.5 years as an Astro(Through Sunday):

Batting Average- .286
Games- 812
Doubles-185
Home Runs-133
RBI- 533
Slugging- .479
On Base %- .339
AB/Strikeout- 10.4
AB/Home Runs- 23.4
AB//RBI- 5.8

When I crunched this numbers, I was surprised to see that Lee has put up similar numbers during his time in an Astros' uniform as he did before Tim Purpura brought him to Minute Maid Park.  Granted his home run numbers and over-all slugging declined, but he is driving in runs at an equal pace and striking out fewer times on average.

By and large, the Astros got the Carlos Lee they were expecting(or should have been expecting) for six years.  However, any hopes Lee may have had of his new bosses building a successful franchise were increasingly dashed upon the rocks- Can anyone say 2007 draft?  Lee's Astros had one chance at the play-offs in his second season in Houston(2008). Yet,  after that brief, less than impressive apex, El Caballo and his teammates have been stuck on a ship quickly taking on water and sinking to the bottom of Major League Baseball.

The future of the Astros' organization is looking bright today. However, the changes that have led to this improved outlook have come too late to have an impact on the career of Carlos Lee.  It doesn't surprise me that after suffering through one of the worst stretches in the Astros' 50 and 1/2 years, the future of the franchise isn't at the forefront of Carlos Lee's mind.


Player Development Agreement Update- AAA

The Astros player development agreement with AAA Oklahoma City is scheduled to expire after this season. Here is a look at the AAA affiliates who at this point in time are in line to become available at season's end.

 (High A Player Development Agreement Update.)

Who's Up for Renewal? International League

The Astros last International League affiliate was the Charleston Charlies(1977-79).

Buffalo Bisons- affiliated with New York Mets since 2009. Operated by Rich Products Corp.


Pacific Coast League

Houston has been affiliated with a Pacific Coast League team since 1998.

Las Vegas 51s- affiliated with Toronto since 2009. Operated by Stevens Baseball Group.
Memphis Redbirds- affiliated with St. Louis since 1998. Owned by Memphis Redbirds Baseball Foundation, Inc.
Nashville Sounds- affiliated with Milwaukee since 1995. Operated by MFP Baseball.

Oklahoma City RedHawks- affiliated with Houston since 2011. Owned by Mandalay Baseball Properties.

The Astros' Top Pitching Prospect Sunday was Nick Tropeano

The trip from Kentucky to California didn't affect right-hander Nick Tropeano's performance on the mound for the JetHawks on Sunday night.  Tropeano, who had been promoted to Lancaster earlier in the week, allowed only one unearned run(facilitated by his own fielding error) in eight innings of work at Modesto.  He surrendered only five hits and struck out nine in his California League debut.  Tropeano picked up the win as the JetHawks knocked off the Nuts, 3-1.

Tropeano, 21, was drafted by the Astros in 2011.  He had posted a 2.78 in 87 1/3 IP for Lexington this season before being promoted.