Saturday, June 13, 2009

Cardinals in "a pretty good position"

So Cards Chairman Bill DeWitt said the Cards were pretty much set. Does this mean they're not interested in giving us a boatload of prospects for Tejada?

Carlos Lee. Cramps?

Remember in high school when the goth girl said she had cramps, and no matter what, she got out of anything?

Not the same thing. Carlos Lee left in the 4th with leg cramps.’%20Lee%20leaves%20game%20with%20leg%20cramps

Blum/Keppinger hurt.

Blum: Strained hamstring
Keppinger: Hurt back

Says Blum: "It hurts."

And Bizarreness and Hilarity in the Clubhouse ensued before Valverde was "made active." Let's look in:

Valverde: (enters Coop's office)
Coop: "You okay?"
Valverde: "I'm good." (dances in a circle)
Coop: "Okay, you're active."

Want to know the funniest part? That actually happened. Read:

Men Among Goats: G59 - Astros at 'iam'ndbac's

Man of the Match: Lance Berkman. 300th homer of his career, just the 7th switch-hitter in MLB history.

Goat of the Game: I thought about Chris Sampson, who gave up 3ER without retiring a batter, but he needed help to do that. So the Goat goes to Darin Erstad: 0x5. Now hitting .119 on the year.

Valverde activated from DL

Yep. The post title pretty much says it all.

Minor League Ball's thoughts on the Astros' 09 draft

It's not all good, predictably.

Sporting News says "Hold on to Roy"

The Sporting News broke down the buyers and sellers in the NL and respectfully suggest the Astros not trade Roy.

"You need to hold on to your superstars."

That apparently doesn't include Miggs, saying he can be a Cardinals target, but only if he moves to third base. And they predict LaHawk as the best bet to be moved.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

The consistency of Miggs

Interesting article in the New York Times:

Meet your 1st place Round Rock Express

With a 1-0 win over Albuquerque thanks to six scoreless innings from Mark McLemore, the Express found themselves in 1st place.

Astros County is trying to confirm if playing for a team in first place is why Geoff Geary accepted his assignment to Triple-A. Ha!

Astros sign 5th round pick

The Astros have signed University of Illinois shortstop Brandon Wikoff to a contract, and he expects to head to Tri-City in the New York-Penn League.

Astros sign 11th round pick

We get word from the Kansas City Star that 11th round pick catcher David "Bubby" Williams from Crowder College signed with the Astros.

And just so you know...

That's six runs in the Astros' last four games.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Men Among Goats: Astros @ D'amo'dbac's

Man of the Match: Carlos Lee, I guess. The Astros only got two hits, and Lee provided the only run on a solo shot.

Goat of the Game: Besides the other eight guys on the team who did nothing? Brandon Backe. Five runs in thfee innings? It's hard to put it all on him, as he isn't getting regular work, but his ERA is 12.00.

Geary to get some innings in Round Rock, anyway

So I guess Geary is going to get that rehab start, after all. Courtesy of a tweet from Alyson Footer, Geoff Geary accepted the minor league assignment and will report to Round Rock.

Red Sox interested in Tejada

Peter Gammons mentions the Red Sox as interested in Tejada. The Cardinals are mentioned, but Gammons doubts Drayton would move him to a division rival.

When does the sell-off start?

"We're not there yet," Ed Wade told Buster Olney. Olney mentions the Astros "reaching beyond their financial parameters" to acquire Pudge and Keppinger, two players who make about $2m combined.

Wade did say that, if the turnaround happens, it's going to be with the players they have. So the Astros aren't selling, but they aren't buying, either.

Valverde a Yankees target?

Ken Rosenthal seems to think it's a possibility:

The Yankees, in dire need of a setup man, eventually will target the best available late-inning relievers — the Rockies' Huston Street, Diamondbacks' Chad Qualls and Astros' Jose Valverde...Valverde has been on the disabled list since April 26 with a right calf strain. The last thing the Yankees would want is a health risk, so other relievers such as the Orioles' Danys Baez also could appear on their wish list.

I would think that a calf strain is less of an injury concern, than say, shoulder problems, or another injury that involves structural damage. The calf strain comes as a result of taking a liner off the leg, so once it's healed, there wouldn't be much lingering damage.

Draft Day Update: Ben Orloff

9th round draft pick Ben Orloff is expected to sign, according to UCI coach Mike Gillespie.

Draft Day Update: Greg Peavey

It looks as though 32nd round pick Greg Peavey may be headed back to Oregon State.

I have some decision making to do. I don’t know with this. As of right now I’m ready to be a Beaver next year. It was going to take more (money) for me to head on out. I didn’t have the season I wanted. And I’m a sophomore and in a rare situation. I’m just happy to be drafted again, and I can come back and go higher next year.”

This is the second time Peavey has been drafted; he was selectd in the 27th round by the Yankees in 2007.

Draft Day Update: Travis Smink

We can all be Travis Smink's friends. Dude was home alone with his parents at work when the phone call came that he was a 31st round pick by the Astros.

"I talked to (the Astros) once in the fall and then a scout called me this morning to clarify some things. I was relieved. Late in the day (Wednesday) was a little stressful just waiting. It's just been overwhelming. It's exciting. This is what I wanted to do ever since I thought it could be an option. I have a degree in hand and now I get to go play some ball."


So it looks as though the Astros' Fred Astaire/Ginger Rodgers pairing of Pudge and Wandy has come to an end.

I noticed it, but didn't mention it, that Quintero caught Wandy - who obviously turned in a little bit of a gem.

“They worked good. It was pretty obvious. Wandy only gave up one run. (Quintero) is doing a good job. That’s the only way I can explain it to you. He’s catching and he’s doing a good job.”

Recap for G58 - Cubs @ Astros

So that's a series win vs the Cubs. Much needed, I must say. With the offense held completely in check, the Astros did what they needed to do on the mound to beat the Cubs.

The Cubs allowed 11 hits, but the Astros were otherwise pretty anemic at the plate. The real story was Russ Ortiz and the five relievers who came in and - mostly - held the Cubs's bats silent. Ortiz threw 13 first-pitch strikes, and had 23 non-contact strikes on the day.

Ortiz: 5.1IP, 3H/0ER, 5K:3BB
Byrdak: .1IP, 1K
Arias: 1.1IP, 1K:1BB
Sampson: 1IP, 1K
LaHawk: 2IP, 2H/1ER, 1K:1BB
Fulchino: 3IP, 1H, 2K

With one out in the 9th, LaHawk gave up a homer to Derrek Lee to tie the game and send it to extra-innings, but Fulchino came in with three near-perfect innings to get the win.


Bourn again set the table for the 1st run of the game with a lead-off double, scoring on Carlos Lee's sac fly to right. But the Astros had runners on in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 9th (Keppinger was thrown out stealing 2nd in the 7th), 10th (Kata! Got himself a hit), and 11th before finally getting a run across - two straight walk-offs by our friend Geoff Blum, who hit a single with Pence racing from 2nd to score the winning run.

Man of the Match:
Has to go back to Blum. Got the game-winning RBI, again, and went 3x6 on the day.

Goat of the Game:
LaHawk. Had to hold a terrible Cubs offense in the 9th, and failed to do so.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Paulino to DL

Welcome back, Wesley Wright. Felipe Paulino heads to the DL - Wright takes his place. I'm assuming that means Ortiz gets the starts after today's totally unforeseen performance.

On the blogger who threw Ibanez under the bus, and its fallout

This is as close as you'll ever get to a Mission Statement from Astros County.

By now surely you've seen the controversy surrounding the Midwest Sports Fans blog post by JRod speculating on the secrets of Raul Ibanez' career year.

Whether or not the mainstream media likes it, blogging is now mainstream. Any idiot (like me) can get a free account through Blogger and go to town on whatever they want. But with that comes a responsibility. The first time Astros County came to broad prominence was on January 28 when I wrote a post entitled "Have I Mentioned How Disastrous It Would Be If the Cubs Traded For Jake Peavy." There was a link to it on MLB Trade Rumors, and Astros County had its first 1000+ hit day.

An excerpt:
That said. Peavy owns the Astros, but he didn't play Us that often. Two games in 2008 (1-0, with a 2.77 ERA). However, if the Cubs rotation becomes Peavy, Zambrano, Harden, Dempster and Lilly? That would suck. Especially if, in an ideal scenario (a 5-game set), we see Peavy-Oswalt, Zambrano-Wandy, Harden-Hampton, Dempster-Moehler, Lilly-Backe. Maybe - MAYBE - the Astros take two of those games. And only the second if Lance decides he's going to eat Zambrano's face during the game.

Of course, everyone latched on to the last line. Someone on MLBTR asked whether or not "middle school let out early that day." Obviously the purpose of the post was to talk about how good the Cubs' rotation would be, instead it created - briefly - a storm of swirling cow feces. My feelings were hurt, because I consider myself to be a pretty funny guy (the one about how, technically, Tejada is three years older than he was last year; I found that particularly funny), but it illustrated to me how quickly a blog can go from being of regional, or team-centered, interest to being featured on Outside the Lines, where a player is responding to it publicly, and where it is referred to on the Bottom Line.

What MSF did was irresponsible, partially because - amateur or not - you can't do stuff like that. A few things I hope you've noticed about Astros County:

1. Every note of speculation is cited with a link to the one doing the speculation.
2. If I take it upon myself to comment on something, it's going to be personnel-related, trades, lineups, coaching decisions, etc. Speculation is centered on the playing field, and not what the Astros are doing off of it.
3. Astros County will never engage in anything slanderous. In short, I don't want to be on Outside the Lines.
4. There is an issue of respect and accountability that I want to preserve on Astros County. Sure, we'll make fun of anal fissures and Cecil Cooper as Hugo Chavez, but the goal of Astros County is to be the Astros fan's one-stop shop for news, trade rumors, and commentary. You won't need a slide rule to figure out the statistics, but it will be intelligent.
5. Astros County will never write anything in all caps. That demeans your intelligence.
6. I have a job, really I do, that does not include covering the Astros; so while I took some time off for draft day, it's simply fun to talk about the Astros. And Astros County will not lose sight of that.

Any thoughts, comments, or remarks are always welcome.

Would Drayton deal Miggs to St. Louis?

I'm generally opposed to trading anybody within the division, but if the Cardinals have something to offer for Tejada, would it be a good idea?

Joe Strauss mentions at the bottom of this article:

The Cardinals have expanded their search for an additional hitter to include Houston Astros shortstop Miguel Tejada. Tejada fits the profile of what the Cardinals are seeking — an offensive deterrent capable of playing multiple positions. The Astros are experiencing financial problems and could part with a player owed $13 million this season. Tejada entered Wednesday leading the NL in batting with a .357 average and 21 doubles. He ranked third in the league with a .354 average against righthanded pitching.

Buster Olney chimes in:
A big question about this situation is whether the Astros would ever trade one of their better players to a rival team. My guess would be that no team owned by Drayton McLane would do so.

With the 1511th pick...

(50th Round) The Astros select Spencer Hylander, 6'1" 195lb LHP senior from Oklahoma Baptist University.

Hylander was 5-1 with a 5.02 ERA in 10 starts (16 appearances) with 4 complete games for Oklahoma Baptist. In 61IP, he logged 61H/34ER, 56K:26BB, .253 BAA.

And with that pick, we're done! It's easy to get excited about 50 new players coming in, and I have a 100% approval rating of Bobby Heck.

With the 1481st pick

(49th Round) The Astros select 6'3" 230lb (that's what I'm talking about) 1B Matt Smith, junior from Ole Miss.

It was Matt Smith who hit the home run that I missed, after watching a lot of that game, because I was in the bathroom, over Virginia in the Super Regionals.

Smith was 78x232 (.336/.421/.522), with 25XBH-59RBI, 57K:30BB for Ole Miss.

With the 1481st pick...

(48th Round) The Astros select 6'3" 215lb LHP Steven Rodriguez from Gulliver (FL) Prep School.

Anyone else seeing a trend with these south Florida players? Rodriguez was the Miami Herald Class 4A-1A Pitcher of the Year. He was also an Under Armour Team One athlete, along with Donovan Tate.

Under Armour had this to say:
Steven has a great feel for pitching, shown in his ability to locate his pitches and to change speeds. His upper 80’s fastball goes with an excellent cutter and a solid breaking ball. He pitched for the USA Youth National Team last year, and has been emerging into one of the top left-handers in the 2009 class.

Rodriguez has committed to the University of Florida.

With the 1421st pick...

(47th Round) The Astros select Matt Branham, 6'5" 220lb RHP, a junior from University of South Carolina Upstate.

In 2009, Branham posted the best ERA on the team with a 4.39 ERA. He was 2-5 in 13 starts. 82IP, 87H/40ER, 82K:27BB, .267 BAA.

With the 1391st pick...

(46th Round) The Astros select 6'2" 175lb SS Justin Gonzalez, from Christopher Columbus (FL) High School.

Gonzalez was a 2008 2nd Team Pre-Season High School All-American, and has signed a letter of intent with Florida State. FSU associate head coach Jamey Shouppe had this to say:

"Justin is a very good middle infielder from down in Miami. He possesses great defensive skills. He also swings the bat very well. Justin is a guy that will benefit from our outstanding strength program because as he matures physically he will turn into a very good college player."

With the 1361st pick...

(45th Round) The Astros select Adrian Morales, 5'10" 180lb 2B from Miami Dade Community College (South Campus).

In '09 Morales was 57x167 (.341) with 46RBI, and has signed a letter of intent with the University of South Carolina.

In an article with South Carolina sports...

(Interviewer John Whittle): With the draft inching closer, what kind of emotions are going through your head right now? Nervous, excited?

Adrian Morales: It’s exciting because I’ve never been drafted before. It is exciting and it should be exciting for everybody. I’m very happy my name is even being brought up in the draft.

JW: How does your family feel about all that is going on right now?
AM: They, of course, want me to become a professional baseball player but they know if it’s not life-changing money, South Carolina is going to be the best fit for me as far as the best competition out there. It’s better competition than the lower minor leagues like Rookie Ball and Low A. Another year in the best competition would be good for me.

JW: What are your plans for draft day?
AM: I’m just going to wait around and see what happens. I’m working out, training, and doing everything I need to do to prepare for South Carolina. The draft, if it happens it happens. If not, I’m ready and excited for South Carolina.

JW: Have you been doing anything specifically to prepare for the draft?
AM: No, I’m just lifting and working out with my brother. I’m just hitting and so forth, so there’s really no change. I’m just going to train and work out with my brother and get ready to be the starting second baseman.

I'm guessing Morales will be heading to South Carolina...

With the 1331st pick...

(44th Round) The Astros select 6'2" 205lb RHP Mike Schurz, senior from the University of Iowa.

In 28IP for the Hawkeyes, Schurz had 31H/14ER, 33K:22BB with three saves.

Schurz missed 2008 due to Tommy John surgery, but led the Hawkeyes with six wins, and also had nine saves in 2007.

Draft Day Update: Aaron Bray

27th round draft pick Aaron Bray:

"It's like it's not even real yet," said Bray. "I was watching the draft online and was about to shut it off. I saw another player that I know get picked then I looked away. The next thing I know, I see my name on there. I didn't even notice who picked me at first. Houston was the last team to ask me to fill out a questionnaire. Another team told me they were picking me at the end of day two, but this was a surprise."

With the 1301st pick...

(Round 43) The Astros select 6'0" 185lb (I want to see someone with my dimensions: 6'0" 230lb lefties go. Is anyone not 6'0" 185lbs?) RHP Anthony Tzamtzis, from LaSalle (FL) High School.

Perfect Game said this in 2007:
Anthony Tzamtzis is a 2009 SS/P with a 6'0'', 180 lb. frame from Miami, FL who attends LaSalle HS. Medium frame, good strength. Quality 2-way prospect. Athletic actions, good hands at SS, unusual arm action. Strong extended swing, good bat speed, consistent hard contact, shows power potential. 88-90 mph off the mound, ball leaves hand + easy, clean mechanics, very sharp 75 CB. Good student. He was named to the top prospect team at this event.

This, from Prospect Wire in February:
Nice easy arm stroke. Ball jumps out of hand with late movement on RH hitters. Big 12-6 curveball with below average command today. Over the top arm slot with downhill action. Changeup was fairly easy to read out of hand.

Prospect Wire also had his top velocity at 89 with a 65mph curve, 70mph change.

With the 1271st pick...

(42nd Round) The Astros select 5'9" 175lb CF Ivory Thomas, from Downey (CA) High School.

Thomas has signed a letter of intent with Cal State-Fullerton (and we're in that stage of the draft where high schoolers will most likely honor that college commitment).

Thomas hit .429 with 3 home runs and 28 RBI in 2008, was named the San Gabriel Valley League's Co-Most Valuable Player in 2008, a Two-time All-San Gabriel Valley League first teamer. He was an LA Times Player to Watch entering the 2009 season (as were Jonathan Meyer and Jiovanni Mier).

With the 1241st pick...

(41st Round) The Astros select 6'2" 185lb righty catcher Carlos Escobar, from Chatsworth (CA) High School.

Chatsworth is a big-time LA school, ranked #6 in the state, and #42 in the ESPN FAB 50 national rankings, and won the LA City Championship. Escobar has signed with University of Nevada-Reno, so we'll keep an eye to see what he does moving forward.

Watch a video!

With the 1211th pick...

(40th Round) The Astros select 6'1" 184lb RHP Daniel Sarisky, sophomore from Oglethorpe University.

For Oglethorpe in '09, Sarisky was 5-1 with a 2.68 ERA in 15 appearances (3 starts). 40.1IP, 34H/12ER, 65K:14BB, and was named to the ABCA All-South Regional Team.

With the 1181st pick...

(39th Round) The Astros select 6'1" 210lb RHP Rory Young from R.E. Mountain SS in British Columbia.

Young was on the Canadian National Junior Team, and threw three scoreless innings vs the Astros in Spring Training, and has reached 90mph on the radar gun.

Twitter Update: This is what happens when your brain is faster than your fingers

Jonathan Mayo, of, just tweeted: "Pirates' 38th-round pick in draft was once a guy, but went backward this spring."

That's high unintentional, juvenile comedy.

With the 1151st pick...

(38th Round) The Astros select 6'0" 210lb righty OF Sean Barksdale, senior from Temple University.

Barksdale was named the Big Five Player of the Year for Temple this season. This season he was .371 with 15HR-56RBI and is Temple's all-time RBI leader. He scored 53 runs, had 13 doubles - both career highs - and enjoyed a .638 SLG.

With the 1121st pick...

(Round 37) The Astros select 6'3" RHP Raul Rivera from Colegio San Vicente de Paulin Santurce, Puerto Rico.

Rivera made Baseball America's "Best Available in Day 3" blog entry early this morning.

With the 1091st pick...

The Astros select 6'0" 185lb righty shortstop Tyler Saladino from Palomar Junior College.

Saladino won all sorts of awards, including the Pacific Coast Conference Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and 1st Team All-Conference Infielder in 2009. He has committed to Oral Roberts University.

Saladino can flat-out hit. 71x161 (.441/.540/.590) in 2009, with 18XBH-33RBI. 25K:24BB. 12SB.

Want to see a video?

With the 1061st pick...

The Astros select 6'0" 190lb CF Grant Hogue, senior from Missisippi State.

Hogue was a 46th round selection by the Reds in 2008. The MSU media guide says: Fleet-footed switch-hitter who posted the team’s third-high batting average (.321) and the most stolen bases by a Bulldog (25) since 1985.

In 2009 Hogue was 57x181 (.315/.419/.398), with 10XBH-22RBI, 26K:16BB.

Want to see a video?

With the 1031st pick...

The Astros select 6'3" 190lb RHP Scott Migl, Houston native and junior from Texas A&M.

Migl was 0-1 in two games with the Aggies this season, throwing just 6IP. As a sophomore in 2008, Migl was 3-3 with a 4.26 ERA, striking out 45 in 61IP.

With the 1001st pick...

The Astros select 6'2" 190lb RHP Brenden Stines, senior from Ball State University.

Stines appeared in 17 games for BSU in 2009, including 13 starts to earn his third letter with the Cardinals. He tallied a 4-4 record on the year with a 5.77 ERA, 64IP/43K. He was named the Mid-American Conference West Division Pitcher of the Week after tossing 7.0 innings of three-hit baseball as he limited Northern Illinois (May 9) to one unearned run while striking out a career-high 11 batters.

With the 971st pick...

The Astros select 6'1" 185lb RHP Greg Peavey, sophomore from Oregon State.

Peavey, a sophomore from Vancouver's Hudson's Bay High School, appeared in 13 games for the Beavers this season, including 12 starts, going 4-3 with a 5.74 earned-run average. In 62 2/3 innings, the right-hander allowed 44 runs (40 earned runs) on 70 hits with 27 walks and 42 strikeouts.

With the 941st pick...

The Astros select Travis Smink, 6'2" 200lb LHP senior from Virginia Military Institute.

Smink was 8-4 for VMI, with a 4.33 ERA. 87.1IP, 100H/42ER, 72K:32BB, .295 BAA. Smink was included on the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Award watch list, and was 7-for-7 in save opportunities in 2008.

UPDATE: Article from VMI - Smink:
"It’s been a stressful couple of days, but I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. I hadn’t heard too much from the Astros, they were a team that snuck in and overtook some teams that I’d been hearing a lot from. I’d like to thank my coaches at VMI, they’ve been very supportive and I appreciate all of their help over the past four years. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them."

A little perspective on the draft

Just wanted to get a little perspective, because I'm as excited about the MLB Draft as anyone really should be (among people who haven't actually been drafted), on the Draft, and what it means to a professional club.

The Astros haven't had a draftee make the Majors since 2004, so let's start there and figure out how many draft picks have actually made it to the Majors, and let's put a minimum of 10 games in the Majors, lifetime. Then let's see how many played 100+ games (and the most experienced Major Leaguer in parentheses)

2004: 49 drafted / 3 major-leaguers of 10+ games / 2 major-leaguers of 100+ games (Hunter Pence with the most ML games)
2003: 41 / 4 / 1 (Josh Anderson)
2002: 48 / 2 / 0 (Pat Misch)
2001: 49 / 6 / 2 (Chris Burke)
2000: 43 / 5 / 3 (Eric Bruntlett)
1999: 42 / 4 / 4 (Jason Lane)
1998: 41 / 5 / 4 (Morgan Ensberg played in more games, but Brad Lidge gets the nod)
1997: 40 / 4 / 3 (Lance Berkman)
1996: 83 / 4 / 2 (Roy Oswalt)
1995: 86 / 8 / 1 (Aaron Miles)

Now, the Astros have had some bad drafts in the past, but still...

Minor League Notes

June 10: Jonathan Fixler assigned to Lancaster from Corpus Christi
June 11: Jon Gaston was named to the Californa League All-Star Team

Fixler was 12x60 with 10XBH in 19 games for Corpus.

June 11: Robert Bono, Ross Seaton, Ebert Rosario have all been named to the South Atlantic League Southern Division All-Star Team.

Draft Update: Dallas Keuchel

7th round pick Dallas Keuchel:

"This has been an amazing experience. Houston is a good organization and I am happy to be with them."

Forgive Keuchel for his brevity, he's SP1 for Arkansas in the College World Series vs. Cal State-Fullerton.

Keep it turned to Astros County as there will be an update on how he did if, you know, you're not into aluminum bats.

Draft Update: Jake Goebbert

13th round draft pick Jake Goebbert:

On being drafted:
"I had thought about it a lot, but I tried to downplay the possibility in my mind as much as I could. But when it happened it was pretty emotional. You work so hard for so many years to have a dream come true and this really is a dream come true."

On his signability:
"There are a lot of factors that will play into that. It depends on what I get and what they feel my role in the organization would be. I'm more than prepared to come back for my senior year. I was expecting to in a way and was looking forward to it. But if the opportunity presents itself in the right manner, you have to take advantage of it because it may only come around once."

Previous draft update: Devon Torrence

Question from Will on the proceedings with Devon Torrence, whom the Astros drafted in the 16th round of the 2007 draft.

Short answer: He's playing both baseball with the Astros, and football with Ohio State. Torrence signed with the Astros on June 18, 2007, and reported to Greeneville.

In 2008, Torrence was 18x119 with Greeneville (.151/.266/.168), 2XBH-2RBI, 53K:19BB. For Ohio State, Torrence has logged 4 receptions for 31 yards in his career.

Draft update: Mike Modica

24th round pick Mike Modica, on getting drafted three times by Ed Wade:

"I don't know if Mr. Wade is the one pulling the trigger, but obviously the chances are very slim for this to happen and I owe him big-time. I was really happy to go and didn't want to sit around [today]."

Draft Update: Brandon Wikoff

5th round pick Brandon Wikoff:

"My dad was at the computer and he kind of jumped in the air, and I was like, 'No way!' It was kind of surreal, then my heart got going. Then I got the call and I really knew it had happened. It's pretty exciting. I didn't really know coming into the day what was going to happen. Scouts were telling me that the best case was fourth or fifth rounds or as low as 10-12. It's kind of a thing where you wait and see and then when you see your name pop up on the screen it's pretty exciting. Troy Hoerner, the Astros' scout who has been working with me, gave me a call a couple of days ago and was asking me about signability and whatnot, and he's a guy who talked to me in the clubhouse at Illinois, so I've had some contact with him before."

On signability:
I would say that the chances of me signing are very good. My time at Illinois is probably done. I've had a great time there. I wouldn't trade my three years there for anything. But I think it's definitely time for me to take it to the next level."

Where will he play?
"For the most part, it's shortstop until I prove that I can't, but they know I can play all three infield positions. And that's what a lot of scouts talked to me about: having that versatility. But for the most part I've heard shortstop until I prove otherwise. I know a guy in their system and he said they're pretty low on shortstops. I'm not really too worried about it. I'm just looking forward to playing."

Draft update: B.J. Hyatt

4th round pick B.J. Hyatt:

Hyatt never put up great numbers as far as pitching statistics go in his two years with the University of South Carolina Sumter. However, the right-hander was able to present these intangible numbers — 6 feet, 4 inches tall, 205 pounds and pitches that consistently hit 93-94 miles per hour on a speed gun — to cause Major League Baseball scouts to salivate.

Head coach Tom Fleenor, on whether the Astros drafted Hyatt on potential:
“That’s pretty much hitting the nail on the head,” said USC Sumter head coach Tom Fleenor. “If anybody can reach it it’s BJ because of his tremendous work ethic. I’m just happy that BJ is getting this opportunity.”

"I’m real excited. I’m ready to get everything taken care of and start working. It will definitely be easier because all I’ll be worrying about is baseball. I won’t have to be concerned with classes. I’ll be working with professional coaches who will help me develop my skills."

On signing:
Hyatt said representatives from the Astros are supposed to be in Greenville today to negotiate a contract. He said it would take a major roadblock for him not to come to terms.

Update on 30th round pick Brandon Petite

30th round pick Brandon Petite has committed to Texas Tech, and head coach Dan Spencer expects him to enroll in the Fall: I do … as confident as you can be without them being here standing at your door. I think it’s an honor for them to get drafted and that’s great. But both should come to school and I think the money will dictate that."

"I waited longer than I expected to wait, but it came through and I got drafted. It was a good feeling. It was a big sigh of relief because a lot of teams had been scared off by my commitment to Texas Tech. So they didn’t know if they should take me and take the chance on losing a draft due to a kid that’s going to college. It was a guessing game. So it was a big relief. I talked to Houston right after I got picked. They were telling me what kind of situations we’re going to be in and what they see in the future. They’re going to wait over the summer to make me my offer and watch me play with the Lethbridge Bulls. I wasn’t expecting to wait so long, but it happened. The initial thought was ‘you got to be kidding me’ because I was in the draft slot as a seventh to 12th rounder, but my commitment to Texas Tech kind of scared off a few teams because they didn’t know if they would draft me in the seventh to 12th rounds that they’d lose me if I went to school. But then Houston kind of nutted up and went after me. It was a long day."

On the money he's asking for:
“The money I’m asking for is top-round money,” said Petite, adding he’s asking for $150,000 plus his education paid. Petite believes he has a legitimate shot to move up through Houston’s system.

“They’re looking at me as a reliever-type, set-up man. They like my velocity for a reliever and my slider as a set-up guy/reliever. They really liked the way I play the game. The words they used were that when I’m on the mound, I’m like a bulldog and I just go right after batters.”

Jiovanni Mier: Loose lips sink trade rumors

Jiovanni Mier apparently said a scout told him the Astros would be getting rid of Miguel Tejada.

“I think it’s irrelevant. You got one guy who’s an All-Star shortstop who’s got a pretty good history of performance at this level. He’s having another All-Star-caliber season. And you’ve got an 18-year-old kid who is hopefully beginning his journey in professional baseball pretty soon to reach what’s right now a pretty far horizon. So who we select today … or yesterday and how it impacts on the composition of the big club in the short term is irrelevant.”

I totally agree with Easy Eddie here. Trading Tejada has absolutely no impact on Mier's career, and if that's true, that scout needs to get taken behind the woodshed. What happens after that is up to someone else.

Why isn't Roy starting today, you may ask?

Roy was scheduled to start today, but isn't. Why? Because he has soreness in his right wrist.

But don't worry:
“It’s no big deal. Just a few extra days. It’s not really hurt. It’s more tendinitis than anything. I thought the extra day would help.”

Recap for G57 - Cubs @ Astros

Welcome back, Wandy! Wandy tossed a gem as the Astros finally got a win against the Cubs, 2-1, with a walk-off single by Geoff Blum. So yay!

Of course, Carlos Zambrano threw such a strong game against the Astros that Wandy didn't factor in the decision. But it doesn't change the fact that it has been a couple of weeks since Wandy threw a game like that - his only blemish a solo shot from Geovany Soto.

Wandy: 7IP, 5H/1ER, 6K:2BB
Sampson: 2IP, 2H, 2K

With the exception of Soto's homer, Wandy's other four hits allowed included a single to left, and three infield singles.


Bourn led off the first with a single to center, who Tejada then erased with a GIDP. And then Lee led off the second with a single to left. And then that was it for baserunners until the sixth, when Bourn walked - 14 straight batters retired, and until Lee's single in the 7th (after Pence drew a walk, a recurring pattern), the Astros had nary a hit. Blum either did exactly what he wanted with the ball with one out, hitting the ball to the deep hole between first and second, or he screwed up perfectly, scoring Pence to tie the game at 1-1.

Then the ninth: Tejada got a lead-off single, then Pence walked again. Lee advanced Miggs on a sac fly to Fukudome. Walking Berkman, Blum came up, got a single to center, and scored Tejada on a prance-off.

Man of the Match:
Hard to say. Wandy is in the running. Geoff Blum is in the running, as is Pence for getting on base twice. I'm going to give it to Blum. With runners on third base, Blum was 1x2, but both runs scored.

Goat of the Game:
This must be a trend for IF5. Matt Kata is 0x8 in six appearances (though he only started for the first time last night). The Astros are getting 0x33 from IF5s this season.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Erik Castro's signability

Word on the Aztec Boards is that Castro in the 10th round might be too low for him to sign. Should he decline, go back to SDSU and try again next year?

Hope not...

Astros release Geary, and he's maaaaad.

So the Astors just pulled a little bit of a stunner.

Geoff Geary was eligible to come off the DL today. He threw some simulated games at Minute Maid Park, instead of undertaking the tedium of going on a minor-league rehab start. Feeling better, apparently, and then boom! Ed Wade released him.

"We reinstated him from the DL and assigned him outright to AAA. He can either accept the assignment or take his free agency."


"It's out of my control. It's their decision and I can't do much about it. Am I frustrated? Yes. Am I caught off guard? Yes. My first concern was to call my wife and tell her she didn't need to come to the game. Now I have to look at my options and talk to my agent about what to do next. Right now I'm just at a loss for words."

Seems a bit odd to me. If you were going to ask me who the first Astros pitcher to be released would be, I could have come up with two or three names before I got to Geoff Geary. He'll make $1.7m whether he takes his assignment, or not.

Wade told McTaggart this:
"We are pleased with the contributions by Arias and Fulchino and think they deserve more opportunities to pitch at this level,"

With the 911th pick...

The Astros select 6'3" 210lb RHP Brandon Petite from Vauxhall Academy in Vauxhall, Alberta.

Article on Wikoff's selection by the Astros

Nice interview with 5th round selection Brandon Wikoff today. An excerpt, if you will...

I watched here in Madison in the clubhouse. We had a few guys here and my Dad. We were watching the Draft Tracker on the Dad saw my name and started yelling and then it got pretty crazy. Just a really exciting moment...The 5th round was a little higher than I that was good. I was really happy about that and about the Astros. Houston had scouted me and talked to me quite a few times so I was not too suprised by the Astros...Just really, really exciting. Truly a dream come true. Something I've wanted since I was a little boy.

Remember, if you are a draftee, get a picture of yourself holding the Astros County Proof of Citizenship and win a prize. Of course, if you'd like to answer a few questions, shoot an e-mail to

With the 881st pick...

(29th round) The Astros select 6'3" 230lb CF Garen Wright from Putnam City (OK) HS.

Versatile player, also pitches, and Perfect Game had this to say:
Large muscular frame, hits from an open stance, strong hands, hits back spin line drives, gets barrel to baseball, has good plate coverage, balanced swing, good arm strength, good baseball flight and carry, pitches from natural 3/4 arm slot, max effort, fastball has arm side run and late life, CB has 12-6 spin, good speed. Good student.

Wright is an Oklahoma Coaches Association All-State outfielder, as well.

With the 851st pick...

The Astros select 6'4" RHP Eric Anderson from Mountain Vista (CO) HS.

Anderson does apparently have plenty of D1 football prospects, and committed to U of Missouri, so we'll have to see if he signs with the Astros. He is a three-sport star, QB of the football team, PG on the basketball team, and 2008 Colorado Class 5A All-State Honorable Mention Infielder.

With the 821st pick...

The Astros select 6'0 180lb L/R SR 3B Aaron Bray, from UNC-Charlotte.

Bray graduated as UNC-Charlotte's all-time hits leader. Last season, Bray was 64x189 (.339/.423/.418), 12XBH-36RBI, 22K:29BB, 11SB for the 49ers; Was Freshman All-American in 2006.

With the 791st pick...

The Astros select L/R 6'0" 200lb 1B Matthew Watson from Pompano Beach (FL) HS.

With the 761st pick...

In the 25th round, the Astros select L/R 1B Nick Stanley, of Florida Southern College.

Stanley, an NC State transfer to Florida Southern, hit 78x227 (.344/.430/.617), 37XBH-59RBI, 27K:20BB, with a .985 fielding percentage in 2009.

With the 731st pick...

The Astros select 6'0" 175lb LHP Mike Modica from George Mason University.

This makes the third time Ed Wade has drafted Modica. Once when he was coming out of high school and Wade was with the Phillies, and then Wade/Heck drafted Modica last year in the 46th round.

Modica was 11-2 this past season with George Mason who says Modica has a good fastball and "an excellent breaking pitch."

Modica was a 2nd-team All-American, the highest honor ever afforded a Mason pitcher, was named first-team All-CAA, and the South Jersey Baseball Coaches Association University Pitcher of the Year. Recorded 75 strikeouts in 87 innings and allowed the opposition to hit just .239 with a 4.34 ERA. He finished his career second all-time at Mason in strikeouts and third in wins and innings pitched - won 22 games with 221 strikeouts in 268.1 innings pitched and his 7.41 strikeouts per nine innings are seventh-most in George Mason's history.

With the 701st pick...

The Astros select 6'5" 220lb RHP Robert Donovan from Stetson University.

2009 line:
5-3 with a 5.19 ERA. 76.1IP, 87H/44ER, 68K:34BB, .295 BAA.

In 2008, Robby Donovan led the team in strikeouts with 59 and games started with 12 on the season. He was second in innings pitched at 65 1/3 and third in wins with three.

With the 671st pick...

The Astros select 6'7" 205lb Mark Jones from Manheim Township HS (PA).

With the 641st pick...

The Astros select their 2nd Boston Collegian, in 6'0" 180lb 2B Barry Butera.

Butera bats left, throws right, and hails from Covington, Louisiana.

Father Barry Butera, Sr had this to say:
"He just does what he is asked to do. He is the consummate team player and will do whatever is necessary to help his team win. Moving from second to the outfield may hurt him draft-wise. He first made the switch last year. It helps the club. A left-handed-hitting second baseman is attractive to the pros. A left-handed-hitting outfielder who hits five home runs a year is a dime-a-dozen. He's on several draft boards. He has a pre-draft workout scheduled for the Astros at Minute Maid Park on June 5 if Boston College is not still playing. The Padres, Giants and Tigers have also called me about him. He's going to get drafted."

At BC this season, Butera's line:
70x215 (.326/.404/.460), 17XBH-34RBI, 49K:19BB, 6SB.

In the ACC, he batted .418 in 30 league games, second in the Conference.

Matchup for G57 - Cubs @ Astros

The Astros are going to have to turn this thing around against division rivals if they're going to get any traction towards a post-season push.


Wandy is coming off three bad starts. Bad enough that there were questions as to whether Wandy was telegraphing his pitches. It doesn't look as though that was the case, meaning that Wandy was throwing flat as a pancake and big as a beachball.

First nine starts:
59IP, 43H/12ER, 53K:16BB, 1HR, 1.83 ERA, .209/.271/.282

Last three starts:
13.2IP, 29H/12ER (18R), 16K:7BB, 4HR, 7.90 ERA, .426/.474/.691

So we really need to hope that Wandy, Pudge, and Dewey have all combined to figure this thing out before a good start to a season is all that comes out of 2009.

Let's do the splits:
vs Righties: 59x213, .277/.330/.399, 53K:16BB
vs Lefties: 13x61, .213/.294/.328, 16K:7BB

When swinging at the first pitch (25): .400/.400/.480, 2XBH
After First-Pitch Strikes (157): .255/.290/.331, 46K:6BB
After First-Pitch Balls (121): .240/.347/.433, 23K:17BB

RISP: 22x72, .306/.350/.403, 17K:5BB
Runners on: 37x114, .325/.378/.412, 24K:9BB
2OwRISP: 11x36, .306/.375/.389, 10K:3BB

Carlos Zambrano

Between beating the piss out of a Gatorade dispenser and talking about retiring, Carlos Zambrano has done more to give Sweet Lou the Gas Face than anyone else this year for the Cubs. Big Angry Z got the OD09 start against Oswalt, and won that game 4-2.

Last three starts:

5/22 @SD4.23/37:43/797/57
5/27 vPIT6.17/16:37/13112/69
6/5 @CIN6.22/07:55/9109/68

Let's do the splits:
vs Righties: 25x118, .212/.286/.331, 34K:12BB
vs Lefties: 27x89, .303/.390/.416, 19K:14BB

When swinging at the first pitch (32): .250/.250/.438, 2XBH
After First-Pitch Strikes (120): .211/.267/.284, 33K:9BB
After First-Pitch Balls (87): .318/.453/.470, 20K:17BB

RISP: 12x59, .203/.271/.288, 11K:6BB
Runners on: 25x98, .255/.313/.367, 18K:9BB
2OwRISP: 2x20, .100/.182/.250, 5K:2BB

With the 611th pick...

The Astros select 6'3" 194lb RF J.D. Martinez from Nova Southeastern University in Florida.

This season, Martinez had one of the best single seasons at the plate in NSU Baseball history, batting .428 with 15 home runs and 57 runs batted in. He set a single season program record in runs scored (73) while placing second in batting average. He landed in the top ten in slugging percentage (.770), hits (80), home runs (15), RBI's (57), total bases (144) and walks (41). He set the NSU career home run record on April 17th vs. Barry University by hitting his 31st home run of his career.

In 2008, Martinez hit .370 with a career high 12 home runs and 56 runs batted in.. He had the second most at-bats, runs scored, hits, doubles, homers, total bases on the team while leading the squad with 56 RBI's. Finished with 21 multiple hit and 10 multiple RBI games. Honored as a 1st Team All-SSC player...Also named to the DAKTRONICS All-South Region baseball second team and NCWBA All-South Region first team.

Ping Baseball:
Not only is the 6’4”, 200 pound hitter handy with the bat, he has a soft touch with the mitt as well. He has a strong arm and respectable speed and the ability to change a game with a catch or rifling throw just as easy as he can in the batter’s box.

NSU Athletic Director Michael Mominey:
“J.D. has worked hard to become the player he has become. He came from a tremendous high school program and understood what it was like to compete at a high level. We knew he had the tools to become an All American type of player at the college level. J.D. has improved on his strengths and weaknesses over the past three years and has become one of the better overall players in the Sunshine State Conference and maybe in the country.”

With the 581st pick...

The Astros select 5'9" 180lb righty CF Brian Kemp, a junior from St. John's.

Kemp was 83x219 (.379/.470/.507), 19XBH-35RBI, 25K:25BB, and was HBP a Biggio-esque 17 times in 2009. He committed 1 error in 90 chances for a .989 fielding percentage.

Kemp was the first batter to ever take a pitch in a game at the Mets' CitiField, as he was the lead-off batter vs Georgetown earlier this spring.

With the 551st pick...

The Astros select 6'2" 190lb RHP J.B. McDonald from Boston College.

In 2009, McDonald's line...
5-7 record, 96.1IP, 96H/52ER, 72K:31BB, .250 BAA. Caught 7 of 13 baserunners stealing.

"Pro ball is what I'd love to do. I've talked to some teams lately: the Padres, Tigers, and Royals. A fair amount of teams basically called me to make sure my health is good and asked if I wanted to play (pro baseball). There wasn't been any kind of talk about money or (which) round. Honestly, I have no idea what round I may get picked or if I will be drafted. I definitely want to play (professionally) and my BC coach, Don Oaki, feels I have a shot at being drafted."

With the 521st pick...

The Astros select 6'3" 210lb RHP Justin Harper from Oklahoma City University.

Harper was selected by the Yankees in the 37th round of the 2008 draft, and here's what the NoMaas blog said about Harper:
Justin throws a 92-94 mph sinker with a major league breaking ball, command is his downfall although he made great strides towards the end of the season.

In speaking with a source who wished to remain anonymous, he said that Harper has a legitimate, Major League arm, and that his raw stuff is described by the Yavapai coaches as plus-plus. His problem is that he has trouble repeating his mechanics, resisting the urge to throw the ball through the backstop, and not letting his struggles get to him.

Baseball America last year said:
Harper has one of the juco ranks’ liveliest arms, at times sitting at 92-93 mph with a sinking fastball.

Enjoy a video.

With the 491st pick...

The Astros select left-hitting/right-throwing 5'11" 170lb C/1B/3B Ronald Sanchez from Manuela Toro High School in Caguas, Puerto Rico.

Here's a link to MLB's scouting video.

Perfect Game says this:
Ronald has a medium build with strength, strong arm, good set up, quick release, nice actions, very good catch and throw skills, balanced approach at plate, sound hitting mechanics, compact swing, showed good pop in games. Catcher to watch.

With the 461st pick...

The Astros select St. Louis Community College-Meramec OF Ryan Humphrey.

Humphrey was 37x133 with SLCC-M, 6XBH-21RBI in 2009.

With the 431st pick...

The Astros select 6'2" 205lb LHP David Berner from San Jose State University.

Berner was a 2009 All-WAC 1st Team selection, and was named SJSU's Most Outstanding Pitcher. In 2009, here's his line for SJSU:

7-2 record, 3.20 ERA. 3 complete games/1 shutout. 95.2IP, 84H/34ER, 84K:15BB, .240BAA.

With the 401st pick...

The Astros select 6'0" 205lb lefty OF Jake Goebbert from Northwestern University.

Goebbert missed the last bit of the season with a lacerated kidney (jeesh) after crashing headlong into the outfield wall at the Metrodome.

"It’s a FieldTurf field and a white ceiling, so you really have to watch the ball in the air. I didn’t feel the warning track and ran into the outfield wall at a dead sprint."

It gets better. He only thought he cracked a rib, so he stayed in the game, came up to bat next inning, and hit a double off the outfield wall. But then...

"When I got to second base, I knew something else was wrong. I couldn’t catch my breath."

That's hardcore.

He was a 2nd Team All-Big Ten selection in 2008, and his 2009 line in 30 game was...
30x107 (.280/.403/.486), 14XBH-23RBI, 15K:18BB.

With the 371st pick...

The Astros select 6'0" 187lb RHP Geoffrey Thomas from Stephenson HS in Stone Mountain, Georgia. He had signed a letter of intent with Southern Miss.

At one point this season, Thomas had a 0.51 ERA in 27.2 innings with 48 strikeouts and 23 walks and was 3-2 on a team that was 3-9 overall this season. He was named the team MVP in both 2008 and 2006 while earning all-county honors in 2007 and 2008.

Prior to the 2009 season he was named to the Rawlings/Perfect Game USA Preseason All-Region Team. Thomas has also participated in the Major League Baseball Inaugural Breakthrough Series and was a MLB Urban Academy All-Star selection in 2008.

Southern Miss head coach Corky Palmer:
“Geoffrey is a young player with a good arm. He has shown signs of a promising career once he gets to Southern Miss."

Oop! Make that "once he gets to Houston."

With the 341st pick...

The Astros select 6'0" 190lb catcher David "Bubby" Williams from Crowder Junior College. Williams led NJCAA Region 16 in hits (77), doubles (24), tied for third in homers (9), 2nd in RBI (58), and posted a 77x202 (.381) average.

With the 311th pick...

The Astros select 6'4" 200lb third baseman Erik Castro from San Diego State. (Wasn't there somebody else from San Diego State drafted this year...?)

Batting left/throwing right, and also spent significant time behind the plate as Strasburg's personal catcher, Castro led the Fightin' Gwynns in batting average (.387), home runs (11) and RBI (51) during the 2009 regular season.

Says Head Coach Tony Gwynn:
"He was pretty green in the beginning, but now he's pretty good back there. Catching has opened some people's eyes as to how good he could be back there. When he starts to trust his ability to use the whole field, he's going to be a much better hitter. That applies to everybody, not just him, but it's especially true in his case. When he just relaxes and sees the ball and reacts to what he sees he's much better. But that's a learned trait and it hasn't quite sunken in yet."

I worked hard with Coach (Mark) Martinez on my swing and one thing was getting my (front) foot down before the pitch was coming. That allowed me to be more patient at the plate. It helped me recognize the ball better out of the pitcher's hand."

Where will he play? Ask Castro himself:
"Probably catcher. Maybe third. Maybe a mixture of both. It's great to have a lot of positions to play to get your bat in the lineup."

With the 281st pick...

The Astros select another shortstop, 5'11" 170lb Ben Orloff from UC-Irvine. Like Meyer, not to be confused with Mier, Orloff is from Simi Valley, CA, Orloff was named a Top 10 Returning Senior by and was a 2008 All-Big West Conference 1st Teamer - topped by his winning Big West Player of the Year.

Orloff holds team records for UC-Irvine in hits (280), runs (178) and at-bats (254).

Says Orloff, following their season-ending loss:
“God blessed me so much to play for these coaches and with my teammates in this program. It has been awesome. I can’t say enough about what UCI means to me and how grateful I am for the opportunity to have played here the last four years.”

Last season for UC-Irvine, Orloff's line:
91x254, 16K:21BB, .358 avg / .409 slg, 18SB

With the 251st pick...

The Astros select 6'3" 185lb Junior RHP Brandt Walker from Stanford. Walker was selected by the Rangers in the 21st round of the 2006 Draft, but did not sign.

Walker's line with Stanford in 09:
19IP, 19H/15ER, 12K:13BB

He does have a fastball topping out at 95-96 and was a Top 100 Baseball America High School prospect in 2006.

With the 221st pick...

The Astros select LHP Dallas Keuchel from the University of Arkansas. Listed at 6'2" 194lbs, Keuchel has a fastball in the low 90s with a plus changeup and curve and was a Cape Cod League West All-Star last season.

Keuchel led Razorbacks starters with a 4.04 ERA in 16 games. His line?
98IP, 106H/44ER, 62K:28BB with a 7-3 record.

"My dream's always been the big leagues. If that works out that's tremendous. If it doesn't, I can always fall back on Nike or something."

Arkansas pitching coach Dave Jorn:
"He's been a rock for us. He's not a guy who possesses overpowering stuff. He has to rely on ball movement, ball location and changing speeds. And along with that, he has the makeup and character that he's not going to break. He's going to hang in there."

6th round update

Just so you're aware, after six rounds (and a compensation pick), the Astros have selected:

Three shortstops
Two pitchers
One third-baseman
One left-fielder

With the 191st pick... the 6th Round, the Astros select another shortstop, Enrique Hernandez. 5'11" and 170 lbs, Hernandez is from the American Military Academy in Puerto Rico.

Here's the link to the scouting video.

With the 161st pick...

The Astros select another shortstop, Brandon Wikoff, a 5'9" 170lb junior from the University of Illinois.

Wikoff was a 2-time Big Ten Player of the Week, bats left / throws right. For Illinois in 2008, Wikoff hit .369 with a team-high 61 RBIs and tied for the team lead with 12 doubles.

Last Friday, Wikoff was named to the Second Team All-Ping All-Stars. Apparently, this means Wikoff was honored as one of the top four collegiate shortstops in the country.

In an article in the Peoria Journal-Star:
Over a three-year career at Illinois, Wikoff started 164 games and hit .343 for his career with 127 RBIs. Those numbers, combined with his outstanding fielding skills, have given scouts, including (scout Tom) Couston, reason to reconsider.

"I'm crazy about Wikoff because of his abilities and his makeup," Couston said. "There's no doubt he's going to play in the big leagues."

Right now, Wikoff is projected to be selected somewhere between rounds 4-10. If he falls lower than the 15th round, he will return to Illinois for his senior season.

"I've heard from 15 to 20 MLB teams," said Wikoff, currently playing summer ball in Madison, Wis. "The most consistent have been the Cardinals and Reds."

Eat it, Cardinals and Reds!

With the 131st pick...

...The Astros select Bralion (BJ) Hyatt, a 6'4" 205lb RHP from Univ South Carolina - Sumter.

Hyatt has had Tommy John surgery, but did pitch for USC-Sumter this past season. His line?

32.1IP, 33H/26ER, 31K:19BB, 7.24 ERA / 1.61 WHIP.

Paulino among baseball's hardest throwing starters

The Washington Post ranked starters who can throw the ball really, really hard. Where did Paulino land?

3. Felipe Paulino, Astros. 95.3 mph. This flamethrowing rookie has bounced between the Astros' rotation and bullpen, and is 1-4 with a 6.18 ERA this season. Maybe he needs to throw more fastballs -- he only throws it 60.9 percent of the time, compared with 70.3 percent for Johnson.

Agree or disagree?

Houston Press article this morning on the ridiculousness of the Astros' policy (the only MLB franchise) of not allowing paying customers to bring in their own food/drinks.

The fan experience at Minute Maid Park is the worst that I've experienced. The food is awful and overpriced. Parking is inconvenient and expensive, and cheap public transit is nearly non-existent. Once in your seat you're constantly blasted with way too loud music, and the sound system makes the fantastic Bob Ford nearly unintelligible. If you get stuck in a seat up by the roof, you're in for a night of extreme heat because there's no other place for the hot air to go. And there's the awful product on the field.

Drayton McLane often talks about the fans, but as always, his actions don't back up his words. The low-priced tickets are actually among the highest in baseball. The vendor who demands exclusivity apparently only demands that privilege from the Astros because it provides the same services to other stadiums without having exclusivity.

Agree? Disagree?

Twins interested in LaHawk?

Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press is reporting the Twins have "serious interest" in LaTroy Hawkins.

Check it:
Don't be surprised if the Twins make a deal with the Houston Astros soon for former Twins reliever LaTroy Hawkins. The Twins are seriously interested and the Astros are in last place in their division, making the 36-year-old right-hander expendable. It also doesn't hurt that Hawkins, who is popular in the clubhouse and whose fastball is still in the 95-mph range, could cost Minnesota just $2.3 million for the rest of the season. His salary this season is $3.5 million.

Bobby Heck on Jiovanni Mier

Assistant GM Bobby Heck answered some of JJO's questions last night about 1st round pick Jiovanni Mier. Some excerpts:

On signability:
"He wants to play. He made that well known. He was actually here at our workout this past Friday, but there's a long body of work on him. He's made no bones about that he wants to go out and play."

On his character:
"As you guys know we covet makeup. This is a very good family environment he's from. We know the family very well. Our area scout Doug Deutsch has developed a very good relationship with his family. His brother is a professional baseball player as well. This is a baseball family and very supportive. They told us they'd like him to land him prior to the draft."

On what prospects may think of the Astros' organization:
"That makes us attractive to kids. When kids say they want to come to you that has a meaning to us, but you're not going to move talent around. We still have to take talent. But once the kids are in the system they all determine their track to the big leagues here. But it is an easier sell when you say hey, there's not a lot blocking you. There's opportunity here. The kids recognize it. They read Baseball America and they see kids moving and they see kids given opportunities here."

On negotiations:
"(We'll start negotiating) Probably tomorrow. The sooner we get him out the better. He's made no bones about he wants to be here when minicamps start. We'll work through that, but I don't see any hang-ups on getting him signed."

When might we see him in an Astros uniform?
"He determines that. As we said yesterday we have players that have a developmental lane. There's some that have a year by year track and there are some that get into the fast lane and determine their own pace. Once he gets out he gets used to professional baseball and the daily life of that then. Ricky Bennett and Al Pedrique will put him in which lane he needs to be at that point in time."

Did Cecil Cooper mishandle Backe?

In last night's drubbing versus the Cubs, Brandon Backe threw 68 pitches. That's 20 more than he threw in his two previous bullpen outings. Combined.

“I thought he got a little tired there the last inning. I take a hit on that one because I think I might have left him (out) a little bit long.”

Notes: Ortiz, Matsui

Kaz Matsui will begin a four-game rehab assignment with Corpus Christi tonight (that means Hooks fans will see Valverde and Matsui!) and could be activated from the DL in time for next week's interleague series with the Rangers.

Matsui looked very, very good today. I just had a discussion and he’s totally on board with this, he’s going to go to Corpus. He will play (today). He’ll play Thursday, play Friday and Saturday. And then we’ll look to activate him Tuesday when we go to Arlington. He looked very good. He started out a little slow as far as his running is concerned. I’m sure he was a little apprehensive. But once he got warm he ran pretty well.”

And don't start thinking that this is just delaying the point of who will be 2B1 once Matsui is back at what some would consider full-strength...

Coop, again: “When that time comes, Maysonet has done a terrific job and so has Matt Kata, but Matsui is our guy. He’s been our guy all along. (Jeff) Keppinger is also one of our main players. We’ll have to make a tough decision when that time comes.”

This is Jack's Complete Lack of Amusement.


And Geary could be back soon, too, meaning that someone's heading back to the Hill Country...

“Geary threw the ball well. It was probably the best time out on the hill from a simulated standpoint. We’re going to talk to (general manager) Ed (Wade) a little bit and see when we can get him activated. He did look really sharp today."

"I'm getting behind the ball and I’m throwing it more effectively than I was before.


Paulino and his groin will be out for Saturday's game, and who will be starting? It ain't gonna be Backe.

Russ Ortiz, come on down! He'll be making his first start since May 7.

Recap for G56 - Cubs @ Astros

Oh yeah, and the Astros played last night. And got the piss kicked out of them, 7-1, vs the Cubs.

Moehler was pretty bad, lasting just three innings. Backe did a little better, lasting three innings, and then the third third of the game (get it?), Arias and Byrdak were the only ones able to stop the Cubs offense.

Moehler: 3IP, 8H/5ER, 3K:2BB
Backe: 3IP, 6H/2ER, 4K:3BB
Arias: 2IP, 1H, 1K:1BB
Byrdak: 1IP, 1H, 1K:2BB

The three lead-off batters Moehler faced were as such:
Soriano: Doubled to left
Lilly: Tripled to right center (that's right. The pitcher.)
Fontenot: Homered to left

Three lead-off batters, three extra-base hits. Backe entered in the 4th inning, got Soriano and Theriot to strike out, then with Lee on 2nd and Fukudome on 3rd, got Bradley to foul out to first. Problem with Backe is that he had runners in scoring position in each inning, loading the bases in the 5th, and allowing a two-out, two-run double in the 6th.


Offense was pretty bad, too. The Astros didn't get on the board until Lance's 9th inning (and career #299) home run. Berkman and Tejada accounted for four of the Astros' five hits, with Pence getting the other hit. Tejada is now hitting .380. Matt Kata did enjoy an 11-pitch pinch-hit AB, one more pitch than Maysonet saw in all three of his ABs.

Man of the Match:
Lance Berkman. Career homer #299.

Goat of the Game:
Brian Moehler. The Astros had a chance to build on a nice little run in their last ten games, and got flat-out embarrassed. By the time Moehler left the game, it was 5-0. Moehler's ERA over his last two starts? 9.00.

Draft Day Rundown: Day 1 - Jonathan Meyer

With the 111th pick of the draft, the Astros selected Jonathan Meyer from Simi Valley HS (CA). Meyer has a solid approach, with strong and quick hands and wrists that produce pretty good bat speed. He's learning to switch-hit and he's stronger from the right side, with a longer swing and less consistency left-handed. Can apply force to his swing, but he doesn't have a ton of strength, so he's got well below-average power, especially using wood. He's a little slow out of the box; better runner once underway. Without great foot speed, he's a solid baserunner who will even pick spots to steal bases now and then. Has a plus arm and fires bullets across the diamond. He's been up to 93 mph off the mound. He's an above-average defender with good hands. Range is just average, but he's got good instincts on the infield. Good first step allows him to get to balls on both sides. That said, he's likely a third baseman as an infielder. Meyer has a strong, muscular frame with broad shoulders and a strong, durable lower half. Strengths: Great makeup and work ethic, excellent instincts. Quick bat with some power. Plus arm strength that plays well in the infield or behind the plate. Doesn't profile as a shortstop, and while versatility is good, he doesn't have a pure position.

Baseball America's Dave Perkin: As a shortstop, Meyer helped lead the Pioneers to the CIFSouthern Section Division I baseball championship in 2008. Perkin, however, believes Meyer, who's listed at 6-foot-1, is more suited for third base, catcher or even pitcher. The scout also said Meyer may need to drop his switch-hitting approach and bat exclusively from the right side, his natural batting stance. "I'd written about him earlier in the year that when he takes batting practice he reaches the warning track lefthanded and the parking lot right-handed," Perkin said. Meyer could end up attending Cal State Fullerton. Perkin projects Meyer as a possible fourth-to-sixth-round choice.

Baseball Beginnings: Versatile switch-hitting infielder with above-average arm offers potential to hit enough and offers enough flexibility to add value at ML level. Will never be the most toolsy player but will bring a little bit of everything but speed and pure power. Could be average ML starter or top-of-the-line bench player. Reminds me of Willie Bloomquist.

Want to see a video?

Draft Day Rundown: Day 1 - Telvin Nash

With their 3rd round pick, the Astros selected 6'1" 220lb left fielder Telvin Nash from Griffin HS in Georgia. Nash had committed to Kennesaw State.

Baseball Draft Report: 5th-ranked high school first-baseman (I know). Above-average power potential and a strong arm; outstanding athlete with well above-average foot speed who should be capable of playing a corner outfield spot with little problem; Kennesaw State commit.

NESN's aforementioned live blog said: He’s another guy with a potentially huge upside.

The Griffin Daily News: “I had a blast at the Astros tryout. I got to meet with all the team officials and the players,” Nash said. “We had batting practice and I played the positions of left field and third base. They wanted to see how soft my hands were and how well I could move my feet.”

Apparently at the Rangers try-out, he got plunked on the elbow. Classy, Rangers.

Draft Day Rundown: Day 1 - Tanner Bushue

With their 2nd round pick, the Astros selected pitcher Tanner Bushue from Farina, IL:

He can throw ball consistently in the mid 90s and above. Tanner Bushue is a 180-pounder, 6-foot-4-inch, and he can pitch 88 to 90 MPH with a fastball that reportedly sits at 93 MPH. Tanner Bushue sees minor top-level competition because his high school is very small, so it is hard to judge his potential.

Perfect Game: Bushue was to have played last summer with the Southern Illinois Bullets, which would have cured those exposure ills. But a knee injury ended his summer before it could start.

Prior to that injury, Bushue had jumped into the top 150 of PG's Class of 2009 rankings on the recommendation of San Francisco Giants associate scout Paige Kirkpatrick. He is now ranked No. 300 nationally. There is now a distinct buzz around Bushue, who at 6-foot-4 has a projectable frame. Scouts also like his signability as he is committed to perennial JUCO power John A. Logan. And of course, there's his arm strength, which helps his fastball regularly stay between 88-90 mph.

ESPN: Bushue is a late bloomer because of the cold weather in the Midwest that always seems to obscure some high school kid up there until early May. Bushue is only 86-88 mph right now, but he can rev it up to 90-91 if he needs it. He's long, loose-limbed and projectable, with a future-plus curveball that will push him up a few rounds; the pitch is 74-76 mph with a hard downward break, and the deception in his delivery makes it very hard for hitters to pick up. He throws like he's playing catch, with recoil at the end of his delivery and some potential for shoulder issues if he starts trying to throw harder. Bushue is considered very signable, as he's committed only to a junior college, and should go in the second or third round.

NESN's Live Draft Blog compared him to Kris Benson.

Rundown on the Draft Day: Day 1 - Jiovanni Mier

The Astros selected four high school players with their four picks in Day 1 of the draft. Let's learn a bit more...

SS Jiovanni Mier (update spell-checks accordingly):
Signed a letter of intent with USC, but Bobby Heck is confident they can reach a deal quickly.

Heck: “He looks right. He’s very confident. He’s poised. He has field awareness. He looks like a major league shortstop and plays like one and carries himself beyond his years.”

Mier: “My ultimate goal is to get out there and play. So the quicker the better. I know definitely we’ll come up with something. I’m just glad I’ll get a chance to go out there and play.”

Heck: “We thought he was the best baseball player, a middle of the field player. Like you guys have heard me say many times before, this is a true shortstop who stays at shortstop. He has defensive ability and offensive ability as well. We think he’s going to grow into some power as well.”

From Perfect Game: Mier has an athletic slim and very projectable body and he is a good all around player with very good hands and actions in the infield. Jiovanni showed good speed with a sixty time of 6.72. He also shows good arm strength across the diamond. He has smooth swing with good bat speed. Mier hits hard line drives to all fields and gets good leverage in his swing. His bat is good now but projects even better with continued added strength. Jiovanni has good all around tools in the infield and also shows big ability on the mound. His arm worked well in an inning of work and he topped out at 90 mph and he also flashed a solid breaking ball. Definite 2009 to watch. Outstanding feel for the game. He is also a good student. Aflac All American

Want to see a video? I thought you might...

USA Today is not so kind:
Mier is questionable to last at shortstop, and he probably won't possess the bat to be a major asset anywhere else. He's probably not more than a future 12-homer guy at best, and plate discipline is an issue. He shouldn't have gone in the first round.

Of course, it's well known that USA Today is incapable of writing in 150+ word segments, so they probably just got brain lock and stopped to draw a graph.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

With the 111th pick...

The Astros selected switch-hitting 3B Jonathan Meyer from Simi Valley HS (CA). 6'1", 195lb. Notes from

-Catches, plays short, and closes
-Future 3B or C
-Great work ethic
-Good hands, Plus arm
-Good raw power

Four straight high schoolers to open the draft

With the 100th pick...

The Astros select LF Telvin Nash, a 6'1", 230lb righty from Griffin HS (GA).

Says Kennesaw State head baseball coach Mike Sansing (to whom Nash had committed):
"Nash is a big-time power player who has soft hands and great feet."

With the 69th pick...

The Astros select Tanner Bushue, 6'4", 180lb right-handed pitcher from South Central HS (IL).

Tanner's line this last season:
68.1IP, 31H/6ER, 140K:22BB

Interview with Jiovanni Mier

Click the link below. More as I get a chance:

With the 21st pick...

The Astros select Jiovanni Mier from Bonita HS (CA). 6'2" and 175lbs Shortstop. says he "Looks like a young Nomar." Also:
-Free swinger
-Should develop some power
-Great defense makes up for slow speed.
-Excellent instincts
-Quiet confidence
-Excellent intangibles

Sounds like the Astros just got a do-over on that Nevin pick, if MLB is correct. Sleep well, Hal Newhouser.

No Chad James for the Astros

Marlins took him with the 18th pick. Astros three picks away.

Lineup for G56 - Cubs @ Astros

1. Bourn CF
2. Tejada SS
3. Pence RF
4. Lee LF
5. Berkman 1B
6. Rodriguez C
7. Keppinger 3B
8. Maysonet 2B
9. Moehler P

No Blum. No Matsui.

Trends from last year's draft

Some quick stats on Ed Wade/Bobby Heck's first draft with the Astros in 2008...

52 players drafted (2 compensation picks)

1B: 1
2B: 3
3B: 1
SS: 3
C: 8
OF: 11
LHP: 13
RHP: 12

College: 36
High School: 16

Keith Law's Final Mock Draft

Has the Astros taking...

...Jiovanni Mier, SS, Bonita HS, Pomona, Calif.: This is probably James' floor as well.

Haven't heard Mier's name talked about much. The "James" in question is the aforementioned LHP Chad James.

Bleak Moments in Astros Draft History

It's not bad to have a Hall of Famer scouting for you, like the Astros did in 1992 when pitcher/consecutive MVP ('45-'46) Hal Newhouser was on the staff, and would be inducted into the Hall of Fame later in the summer of '92. Newhouser liked this kid from Michigan, Derek Jeter. The Astros had the #1 Overall Pick in the draft. And took Phil Nevin.

In the lead up to the 1992 draft, Newhouser insisted that the Astros draft Jeter. Newhouser, in fact, apparently discovered Jeter. The Astros passed, drafting Phil Nevin instead. Newhouser was so incensed that he quit. Nevin played 18 games for the Astros, before being traded to the Tigers and having a creditable career.

It takes skill to get a Hall of Famer to scout for you. It takes even more skill to make that Hall of Famer quit.

Matchup for G56 - Cubs @ Astros

So the Astros come into this series with the Cubs 3.5 games behind them and the Reds, but in a virtual tie with the Pirates for last place. The Astros are 7-3 in their last ten games, the Cubs are 6-4 in their last ten, but 8-12 in their last 20. The Astros send Brian Moehler to face Ted Lilly in the first game of the series. The Cubs lead the season series, 5-2.

This is the second time Moehler has faced the Cubs this year. The May 17 game was pretty good, but the April 8 game was a massacre.


Moehler has done pretty well in his last two starts: 15IP (including the complete game), 5ER. Moehler isn't missing too many bats, though, in his last three starts, he only has 14 swinging strikes.

Last three starts:

5/23 vTEX59/64:07/1268/50
5/29 @PIT97/14:212/17123/85
6/3 vCOL67/42:19/1274/42

Vs the Cubs, Moehler has thrown 6.2IP (over two starts, if you can believe that), allowed 13H/10ER, 5K:3BB.

Let's do the splits:
vs Righties: 32x72, .444/.452/.722, 10K:0BB
vs Lefties: 24x98, .245/.318/.378, 16K:10BB

Righties are tee-ing off on Moehler, obviously.

When swinging at the first pitch (29): .519/.536/.889, 6XBH
After First-Pitch Strikes (86): .300/.341/.450, 16K:4BB
After First-Pitch Balls (71): .286/.343/.460, 10K:6BB

RISP: 17x49, .347/.389/.531, 7K:4BB
Runners on: 28x84, .333/.380/.536, 12K:6BB
2OwRISP: 4x22, .182/.250/.182, 4K:2BB

Ted Lilly

With the exception of Randy Wells, who has made six starts, Lilly has the lowest ERA and WHIP, and the highest K:BB ratio of the Cubs' starting rotation. But he has given up the most dingers, too. Lilly has also started two games against the Astros this season, winning both - one on April 8 (The Moehler Meltdown game) and on May 7, both of them in Houston.

Last three starts:

5/24 @SD6.18/54:212/1095/66
5/29 vLA74/15:39/9102/68
6/3 @ATL76/27:19/12108/73

Vs the Astros this season:

Pudge: 2x4, 2XBH-2RBI, 1K:0BB
Tejada: 3x6, 2XBH-2RBI
Keppinger: 2x5, 1XBH-1RBI
Lee: 2x5, 1XBH, 0K:1BB
Pence 1x5
Berkman: 1x6, 1XBH-1RBI, 2K
Bourn: 0x2, 1K
Michaels: 0x2, 1BB

Jonathan Mayo's updated mock draft

Final updated mock draft from Jonathan Mayo has the Astros taking...

...Jared Mitchell, OF, LSU
Mitchell, the best athlete, at least among the college bat drop, still seems like he could fit well in this system.

Here's your latest Miggs rumor

From NESN: The Red Sox need a shortstop. Julio Lugo is not good. Jed Lowrie is not healthy. After asking around on virtually every shortstop in the Majors, we read this...

In addition, the Red Sox allegedly have interest in the Phillies’ Jason Donald, a 24-year-old minor leaguer that could be part of a Brad Penny trade, and the Astros’ Miguel Tejada.

Tejada is having a great year, hitting .354 with 27 extra-base hits, but the ‘Stros sit at 25-30 and last in their division. He’s in the final season of his 6-year, $72 million contract, meaning Houston will probably want to move him for something before he becomes a free agent.

Minor League Transactions

Corpus Christi
June 6 - Activated Andy Van Hekken from temporary inactive list

YotD: June 8

Round Rock
The mini-Cubs beat the mini-Astros in Iowa last night 10-3 as Rich Harden got the rehab start for Iowa (and Neal Cotts appeared in relief), and Josh Muecke allowed six runs (just two earned) in 5IP. Gervacio and Lumsden teamed up to allow 4R in 3IP. Chris Johnson and Brian Bogusevic got two hits each with Bogusevic, Abercrombie and Yordany Ramirez provided the RBIs.

Corpus Christi
The Fightin' Castros got a 6-3 win, scoring three in the top of 9th, over Springfield last night. Brad James got the win, throwing 5IP and allowing 3H/2ER (but struggling with the walks, striking out 3 and walking 5). C-Lo threw an inning of scoreless relief. Felix Molina got a 2-run double while Wladimir Sutil and Drew Meyer got two hits each, Drew Locke hit a 2-run single.

Off last night. They now need a catcher, by the by. Koby Clemens, how you feelin'?

Scored both runs in the bottom of the ninth thanks to a Brandon Barnes 2-run homer, but fell short to Asheville 4-2. Robert Bono gave up four runs in 6.1IP. Ebert Rosario, Michael Diaz and Jorge de Leon got two hits each, de Leon breaking up a 2x23 slump.

Another Chad James prediction!

Steve Brown of Yahoo is projecting the Astros to take...

Chad James, Yukon HS, Okla.
A high school left-hander with huge upside, James fits into the mold of recent Astros first-round picks. He is using his commitment to Oklahoma State as leverage, but should be an easier sign than Purke, the other high-profile left-handed high school pitcher available.

That's our first player with more than one projection! More as it unfolds...

Castro, predictably, happy to get promoted

And this is news?

Welcome back to adding some content there, JJO. In his first blog post since June 5, JJO checks in with Jason Castro, who was driving to Corpus from southern California, to see how he feels to be the first pick from the '08 draft to reach Double-A.

"It's a great feeling. I was really excited. I'm just looking forward to the opportunity and challenge of starting with a new team and starting fresh at Double-A."

On his expectations:
"I really didn't have any expectations (stats wise at Lancaster) as far as that goes, I just wanted to have as good a start as I could and get as comfortable with life of full season as quickly as possible. I thought I adapted. There are a few goals that I have for this year. Obviously just getting though my first full season of catching somewhere around 100 games or more is a goal for me I've never done or never experienced. It would be a good gauge on how real professional baseball is. It's not college baseball or summer baseball. Also, learning to adapt and play in those conditions. Work with the pitching staff and sharpen my skills behind the plate and progress as a whole."

JJO says Wade will not be afraid to promote to the Majors from Corpus, so I wouldn't be surprised to see Castro up on September 1. And hey, if he gets seven RBIs in a random game, he'll be C1 on OD10!

Russ Ortiz as SP6

Interesting column from Jerome Solomon on Russ Ortiz. It's your feel-good story of the day, but within the story we get an inference that Brandon Backe probably isn't going to get a shot at the rotation any time soon.

Cooper, on Ortiz:
"He’s pitched much, much better than he did as a starter. He’s more consistent in the strike zone. He’s had some great outings. He’s probably still not happy. He understands it; he doesn’t like it. … When there’s an opportunity, he’ll probably get it."

"Now I think I can throw as well as I ever have; the way I feel right now. The fastball is there, it’s got life on it. The other stuff’s working, too. So I feel good out there. I know myself best, and I know if I’m feeling as well as I have, I’m going to do well and contribute. That’s the way I feel right now. That’s the way I felt through the spring and this whole year. Now when I get an opportunity to pitch, I’m where I need to be to be successful. When I go in there I feel like I’m going to do well every time. It’s not going to happen every time, but that’s how I feel. It’s working right now."

Here's your staff for Draft 2009

General Manager: Ed Wade
Assistant GM/Scouting: Bobby Heck
National Cross Checker: David Post
Regional Supervisors: Clarence Johns, Ralph Bratton, Mark Ross
Amateur Scouting Coordinator: Mike Burns
Amateur Scouts: Joe Graham, J.D. Alleva

Bobby Heck:
"Within a week after last year’s draft, we had follow lists due for the players coming up, and we followed them all summer, we followed them all fall. We use those lists to prioritize guys as we attack them in the spring. Where we’re at as an organization is still adding a depth of quality to our organization. If there’s one thing we might walk past, all things being equal, it’s catching. Jason Castro’s on his way to AA right now, and plus, there’s a lot of young catching we like in our system."

Ed Wade:
"Any time you think that you can get by a year without an effective restocking of your system is a year that puts you three years behind.”

It's Draft Day!

Honestly, only an Astros fan can get as excited as I am about the draft. Because this is what we have to be excited about: drafting players who will contribute in 3-4 years. Let's face some facts, it doesn't look like Drayton and and Easy Eddie will be making any moves (so far). So what will they do? Offer Tejada arbitration? Risky, as he's said he wants to finish his career in Houston, and because of that, just may accept arbitration.

Remember, the problem with offering arbitration in order to get draft picks only works if the players decline arbitration.

So check in early and check in often as Astros County provides you with the best Astros-centered draft coverage tonight (we won't even talk about Stephen Strasburg, it's a guarantee).

Monday, June 8, 2009

Citizen Ty takes life into his own hands, reps Astros County at Yankee Stadium

Send in your photos to and have them posted for all the world to see. And now you know what kind of cheddar Citizen Ty has to get THOSE seats at Yankee Stadium.

Off Day Argument - June 8

Lately there hasn't been a whole lot of chatter with the Off-Day Argument, it's been more like an Off-Day Monologue. Today, that changes!

With tomorrow being the 1st round of the MLB Amateur Draft, I thought this argument timely and appropriate: Who was the best #1 overall pick of all time?

-Darryl Strawberry (1980): 335 HR, .259 lifetime BA, .862 career OPS
-Ken Griffey, Jr. (1987): 617 HR (and counting), .287 BA, .916 OPS
-Chipper Jones (1990): 415 HR, .311 BA, .956 OPS
-Alex Rodriguez (1993): 561 HR, .305 BA, .967 OPS
-Answer 5: Write in your own vote

Astros to add team to Gulf Coast League

Short-season rookie ball comes to the Gulf Coast League as the Astros will add a team in Kissimmee in 2009.

A run-down of projections

So we have seen a number of projections from a number of different people for who the Astros will take in the 1st round of tomorrow's amateur draft. Here's a run-down:

Baltimore Sun: OF Tim Wheeler

Baseball America: OF Everett Williams

Keith Law: OF Randal Grichuk

Jonathan Mayo: OF Jared Mitchell

A different Keith Law mock draft: LHP Chad James OF Donovan Tate

So no consensus player, but it looks like outfielders for the Astros in the 1st round. Remember, we're talking about players we'll see no earlier than 2012 (probably, anyway). Which just happens to be the last year of Carlos Lee's contract.