Saturday, June 5, 2010

B.J. Hyatt out until 2011

The Examiner posted an interview with the Astros' 2009 4th Round pick, pitcher B.J. Hyatt.

Last week, he visited Astros team medical director Dr. David Lintner at The Methodist Hospital in order to undergo labrum surgery. This injury affected his performance at Greeneville, and continued to linger throughout minor league camp in Spring Training.

Since it wasn't showing consistent improvement, Astros assistant general manager of player development Ricky Bennett decided it was time to take care of the issue through surgery.

"Everything was real clean. Dr. Lintner told me the rotator cuff was perfect and that I should go on to have a long career. I felt the pain in my shoulder area last season. I'll be 100 percent by eight months and will be throwing again within four months."

Eddie's Farm: June 4

Round Rock

Iowa scored three in the top of the 9th, but it wasn't enough as the Express win 6-4. Josh Banks threw 8.2IP, 8H/4R (1ER), 1K:1BB for his 6th win of the season. Matt Kata was 3x4 with 5RBI (!), while Jason Castro and Brian Bogusevic were both 2x4 with a walk.

Man of the Match: Matt Kata


Springfield pitcher Brian Broderick dominated the Hooks, throwing a complete game, two hit shutout for a 9-0 win. Jordan Lyles threw 6IP, 6H/5R (2ER), 5K:3BB and gave up two homers. Edwin Walker and Nelson Payano threw 3IP, 7H/4ER, 3K:1BB. German Duran and Jimmy Van Ostrand got the two hits.

Man of the Match: Uh. Lyles?


The JetHawks dropped to 16-38 after a 4-2 loss to Rancho Cucamonga. Shane Wolf threw 5.2IP, 11H/4ER, 4K:2BB. Leandro Cespedes and David Berner combined for 2.1IP, 0H/0ER, 4K:0BB (Berner struck out the side in the 8th). Brandon Barnes was 2x4 with a solo homer. But Cartwright, Barnes, Flores, Hernandez, and Rosario all struck out twice.

Man of the Match: Brandon Barnes


West Virginia scored four in the first inning and that was enough, despite a 9th inning surge, to beat Lexington 4-3. Jose Cisnero threw 5IP, 3H/0ER (4R), 5K:2BB and Zach Grimmett threw four perfect innings - with six Ks - to close out the game. Aaron Bray was 2x3 with a triple, walk, and an RBI. J.D. Martinez also had a triple and two runs scored. With the bases loaded, down by one, Brian Kemp GIDPed to end the game.

Man of the Match: Zach Grimmett.

Angels content to let 1B play out

With Morales out, there has been a flurry of speculation regarding what the Angels will do at 1B (including trading for Berkman), as they sit at 29-28 and 1.5 back of the AL West lead.

But GM Tony Reagins says that they're content to let it play out, with Mike Napoli getting a look at filling 1B.

"We're looking at all our options, whether internal or external, but there's not a level of urgency to do something right now. We have to focus on the type of baseball we need to play, regardless of who's at first base."

Ed Wade has another chance to fix what Purpura and Drayton screwed up

Bernardo Fallas has a Notes column in which we find that the Astros aren't opposed to re-drafting some of the players they didn't sign back in 2007.

The Astros have expressed interest in the possibility of drafting any of three highly rated talents whom they selected in the 2007 draft but didn't sign.

Derek Dietrich, Brett Eibner and Chad Bettis all signed releases authorizing the Astros to draft them. Players drafted by a club and not signed cannot be drafted later without consent because of the possibility of bad blood between the parties.

Bobby Heck:
"We've reached out and re-established relationships with the three players. They're all players that we do have interest in. We've continued the evaluation process.”

Ohhh, but don't blame Drayton for 2007, or any other draft year, his hands are clean (save for the oil from throwing Purpura under the bus):
“That decision is going to be made by Ed Wade. I have never influenced the draft. I don't know (the players).”

Ed Wade, on the draft budget:
“We have the budget capability to take the best player available with each of our picks. We're not drafting, ‘signable players;' we're drafting the best players available at the time.”


Recap for G55: Astros v. Cubs

Well well. The Cubs came into town, 28000+ people showed up, and got to see Felipe Paulino's first win of the season as the Astros prevail 3-1.

Why They Won

Because Felipe Paulino seems to be, maybe, possibly, the pitcher the Astros signed up for - turning into a bright spot on the roster. And because Berkman and Lee got on base three times each, with Berkman driving in two runs.

Astros Pitching

Paulino85/17:2120-81 (67.5%)26/11
Lindstrom10/01:08-6 (75%)2/2

Paulino threw first-pitch strikes to 20 of 31 batters. When throwing that first-pitch strike, the Cubs went 4x13 - meaning that, after a first-pitch ball, the Cubs were 1x9 (2BB). In his last four starts, he threw 28IP, 18H/5ER, 20K:14BB, and has held opponents to a .188/.291/.260 line and just four extra-base hits.

Astros hitting

The Astros had four extra-base hits - three doubles (Lee, Bourn, Berkman), and a triple by Pedro Feliz.

Lance had two RBI, giving him 25 on the season in his 41st game. Let's look at when Lance got his 25th RBI in his three previous seasons:

2009: G38
2008: G28
2007: G51

The Astros have been doing some things with the walks, as well. In the twelve games since drawing only one walk against the Rays on May 22, they have averaged 3.9 BB/game. Not surprisingly, they are 6-6 in those twelve games.

Multi-hit games: Bourn (3x4), Berkman (3x4)
0-fers: Blum (0x3), Quintero (0x4)

Pitch Count Hero: Lee (1x2, 2BB) - 20 pitches in four PAs
Pitch Count Punk: Berkman (3x4), and Feliz (1x4) - 14 pitches in four PAs

Man of the Match: Felipe Paulino. As if there was any doubt.

Goat of the Game: Pedro Feliz. I know he hit a triple, but he also ended two innings with the bases loaded.

Friday, June 4, 2010

McTaggart's Draft Preview

For a season like this, Monday evening through Wednesday will be the three most important days of the summer. McTaggart posted his draft preview today, and here are some notable pulls.

Talent rules the day. The Astros' farm system, which was decimated by poor Drafts in 2005 and 2006 and their inability to sign their top two picks in the 2007 Draft, still needs to be restocked. Houston contends it's going to take the best player available regardless of position.

Bobby Heck:
"Knowing where we picked after last season ended and after the Winter Meetings, knowing we were getting extra picks for Valverde, it's been very challenging because the fact is every player is in play. But it was also very rewarding from the fact every scout, their lists were all in play. It's been fun, but also understanding, too, is the impact that it can mean to a club and how important it is to nail these picks."

What do the Astros need? Everything.

Roy's One-Way Ticket: Minnesota

Because keeping all of those quotes, notes, and rumors in one post is getting lengthy, let's break this down by team in separate posts. As these come in, they will be updated and reposted.


Latest status: Longshot/Dark Horse

SportsNet Canada (6/4):
Watch for the Minnesota Twins to be a major player when the Astros finally put long-time ace Roy Oswalt on the market, as per his request. This is another advantage to having a deep and fruitful farm system. Makes it easier to trade "what might be" for "what already is" and the effect that can have on a deep playoff run.

Buster Olney (5/25):
Agree with Jayson Stark on this: Twins are a team to watch in the Oswalt talks. One question: Will they part with the necessary prospects?

Aaron Gleeman (5/24):
Without knowing the Astros' demands, it's impossible to say for sure, but those factors would make me think twice about a move, and my guess is Oswalt's contract alone takes the Twins out of the running. Oswalt is an outstanding pitcher with gas left in the tank, but between the costs to acquire him and lack of an obvious rotation weak spot, pursuing him doesn't seem to be a great fit unless the Astros like Slowey, Blackburn, or Baker as a major part of the deal.

Minneapolis Star-Tribune (5/23):
Both J.C., and I were told yesterday that the Twins would probably call the Astros to see what the price for Roy Oswalt would be. That doesn't mean anything is brewing.

Minneapolis Star-Tribune (5/22):
It's a longshot that Oswalt will actually land in Minnesota, but there are indications the Twins plan to check with the Astros to see what it would take to land the three-time All-Star. The Twins like their rotation but realize they lack a true ace, so they'll at least listen when a pitcher such as Oswalt is on the trading block.

PETA's got jokes!

Congratulations to Minute Maid Park, who just placed 3rd in PETA's Top 10 Vegetarian-Friendly Ballparks contest!

PETA Director Dan Shannon:
"Carlos Lee might be coming up empty at the plate, but Astros fans are loading up their plates with the variety of delicious meat-free options that are available at Minute Maid Park. With this lineup, Astros fans can look forward to slashing their risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes for many seasons to come."

Don't lie. You didn't think that the "slashing their..." part was going to end in "risk," did you?

Keith Law's Mock Draft!

Keith Law posted his new Mock Draft.

He has Zack Cox going at #7 to the Mets, leaving Josh Sale at #8:
I've heard Michael Choice's name here twice in the last 48 hours. The Astros love Sale and won't get him at 19.

So at #19 he has Kolbrin Vitek - 2B, Ball State
They'd love DeShields if he falls here, but I think that's unlikely, so they may have to choose at 8 between him and Sale. Also potentially on Barrett Loux or Reggie Golden, although I think Golden will be there in the sandwich round.

Paulino is "getting close"

New article by Brian McTaggart details how Paulino is on his way to becoming a significant contributor to the rotation. Now, if only someone could score some runs...

Mills, on his lack of run support:
"He's handled it about as good as you can expect or want anybody to handle it. He's done an outstanding job. He wants to be out there on the mound and wants to be able to pitch. The way he's handled things has been first class all the way."

Kevin Cash Money:
"He's right on the brink of just taking off, I think. He's pumping 96, 97 [mph], and with the offspeed pitches that he has, he's real close."

McTaggart (and Arnsberg):
Astros pitching coach Brad Arnsberg, who's worked tirelessly with Paulino to streamline his mechanics by abbreviating his hip turn and finding a consistent arm slot, is encouraged with his progress.

"I'd like to see him out there with a cushion," Arnsberg said. "He's always pitching not to give up a run. It's been a pleasure to watch. As far as being 0-7, I don't think that's affected him at all. He just tries to stay in control of what he's got control of. My motto with him as been, 'Keep going out there and trying to put goose eggs on the board. This offense is going to take off sooner or later.'"

In his first five starts of the season, Paulino threw 27.2IP, 27H/17ER, 23K:18BB, and 58% of his pitches for strikes (17% looking, 9% swinging).

In his last five starts, he has thrown 31.2IP, 26H/12ER, 31K:16BB, with 61% of his pitches for strikes (18% looking, 9% swinging).

And in his last three starts, he has thrown 20IP, 13H/4ER, 13K:12BB, with 59%/17%/6% and the Astros are 2-1 in those starts.

Paulino threw eight shutout innings last time out - the first time he had started a game in which he didn't allow a run since April 19, 2009 against Cincinnati. This is a big start for Paulino tonight - let's hope he can keep it rolling.

Is Lindstrom on the hot seat?

The Sporting News thinks so:

The closer seat is getting hot in Houston as Lindstrom has blown two straight saves and three of his last four opportunities. Since locking down 10 straight saves to start the season and allowing runs just twice in that span, Lindstrom has been roughed up for six runs on 11 hits and five walks in his last four outings (4.0 innings). During the recent struggles, his WHIP has jumped from 1.19 to 1.67. That's much closer to what we expect from Lindstrom, who finished with a 1.65 WHIP last season for Florida while losing his closer job. With experienced closer Brandon Lyon pitching well enough (3.47/1.33), don't be surprised if Astros manager Brad Mills decides to make a change.

Agree? Disagree?

Minor League Ball's Final Mock Draft

Over at Minor League Ball, John Sickels posted his final mock draft.

#8: Zack Cox - 3B, Arkansas
Another pick in flux according to everything I have heard, but most scouts love Cox and he shouldn't fall much farther than this.

#19: Josh Sale - OF, Bishop Blanchett HS (WA)
Would pair nicely with Cox to provide the core of a future Houston lineup.

Okay, so let's break this down here. Of all the mock drafts we've linked to, this is how the #8 pick breaks down:

Zack Cox: 5
Michael Choice: 2
Josh Sale: 1
Austin Wilson: 1
Christian Colon: 1

More pessimism about trading Roy

Jayson Stark's new Rumblings and Grumblings column spends plenty of time discussing the possibility of trading Roy:

We sense increasing pessimism out there that the Astros will be able to find a team willing to take on all of Oswalt's money and give up three centerpiece players to get him next month. But keeping him could be trouble for this team, too. If he still finds himself in Houston after the deadline, scouts who have cringed at Oswalt's body language so far are beginning to wonder if he'll be able to keep his sanity.

"Every time he goes out there," said one scout, "he's basically telling you, 'I'm finished here.' He's frustrated, and he's making it very obvious to everyone."

Meanwhile, J.P. Ricciardi posted his take on how to go about trading Roy:

First, the Astros need to bring Oswalt in, sit him down, and decide as an organization if this is something they want to do. If the answer is no, then they simply need to tell Oswalt, "As a unified front office and ownership group, we don't want to trade you and we're not going to look to trade you." End of conversation.

But if the organization is willing to explore the possibility of a trade, then the Astros have to make Oswalt and his agent a big part of the process. Oswalt's full no-trade clause is a huge hurdle here. If Houston fielded serious offers from other teams but Oswalt didn't want to go to those clubs, he could kill the trade discussion. So if the Astros hurler wants the team to deal him, he needs to be flexible about waiving his no-trade clause to more than three or four teams.

Drayton: The Astros are an underachieving child

There's a lot to note in David Dalati's article this morning for FSH, including a note from Drayton on The Hunt For Roy's October:

Astros owner Drayton McLane says he’s obviously disappointed in the performance of his club, that he doesn’t expect any movement on the Roy Oswalt front for at least two to three weeks...While select teams have made inquiries to the Astros about the potential of acquiring Oswalt in a trade, there have been no serious and detailed discussions with any team since Oswalt requested a trade.

And Ed Wade is The Right Man For The Job:

“Just his knowledge, his composition his judgment on good, good talent…he really, really knows how to put a successful team together. Look at the Philadelphia Phillies. The majority of those players are the ones that he drafted or pulled through the system. He can do the same for the Houston Astros.”

So what's wrong with the team?

“I tell our people that it’s like having a child that has the potential to make straight A’s and they’re making C’s and B’s. They can make straight A’s. They can play much better.”

Carlos Lee and .300

It's an interesting question: Will Carlos Lee hit .300 and get 100 RBI this season, and I'd like to thank Citizen Adrienne for bringing it up. Ed Wade said - a while ago - that, despite Lee's slump, he still thinks Lee will hit .300 this season. So let's run the numbers.

Lee has averaged 3.81 ABs per game over the course of his career. With the exception of 2008, when Lee suffered the broken finger in August and missed the rest of the season, he has played in 160+ games since 2005. Since Lee has played in 51 of the 54 games this season, let's just take that nice round division and say that Lee plays in 153 games and see what he'll have to do to hit .300.

153 games would mean 583 plate appearances. He's hitting .208 through 197 plate appearances (41x197). In order for Lee to hit .300 over 583 plate appearances, he would need 175 hits. In order to get 175 hits, Lee would need to go 134x386 from here on out. Oh, and just because the math is always free at Astros County, that turns out to be a .347 average - 139 points higher than what he has posted to this point in the season.

Will it happen? It's possible. Is it likely? Not from what we've seen so far.



-T.J. Burton was reassigned to Corpus from Round Rock.

-The Hooks placed Danny Meszaros and Matt Nevarez on the 7-Day DL, and Greg Rajan speculates that Nevarez has a hamstring issue, while Meszaros' injury is unspecified.

-Within Rajan's blog post (linked above) we see that the Astros obtained Jailen Peguero from the Rangers for a PTBNL.

Peguero had been pitching for AAA Oklahoma City, where in 13 appearances, all in relief, he was 2-1 with a 4.09 ERA. Peguero is on his way to Corpus Christi tonight.

Peguero is an original Hook, spending all of 2005 and the first half of 2006 in Corpus Christi. He shares the club's all-time saves record with 26. In 77 appearances for the Hooks, Peguero is 4-2 with 26 saves and a 2.10 ERA, with 41 walks and 111 strikeouts in 103.0 innings. He ranks second all-time in appearances and has the best ERA for any pitcher in the team's six-year history with more than 100 innings of work.

Peguero has appeared in 25 games in relief in the big leagues over two seasons (2007 and 2008) with Arizona. He has a 1-0 record lifetime in the majors with a 7.50 ERA over 24.0 innings.


-The Legends placed Tanner Bushue on the 7-Day DL, and activated Brandt Walker from the 7-Day DL. Bushue's injury is unspecified.

Eddie's Farm: June 3

Round Rock

G1: Double-header due to Wednesday's rainout, so each game was seven innings, and the Iowa Cubs scored two in the top of the 7th for the 4-3 win. Andy Van Hekken threw a "complete game:" 7IP, 6H/4ER, 2K:0BB. Brian Bogusevic and Michael Garciaparra had two hits each, while it was Bogusevic, Johnson, and Locke with the RBIs.

Man of the Match: Brian Bogusevic

G2: And it's a split! Round Rock jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first and held on for a 5-3 win. Shane Loux threw 5IP, 4H/3ER, 5K:0BB, while Bazardo and Corcoran threw two scoreless innings in relief. Chris Johnson hit his 6th homer of the year - that's where those three runs came from in the first - and Oswaldo Navarro added his own homer in the 2nd inning.

Man of the Match: Chris Johnson


Corpus was all over Springfield in an 8-1 win. Tyler Lumsden - who is really coming on - threw a complete game, with 9IP, 6H/1ER, 1K:1BB. Koby Clemens and Wladimir Sutil had three hits each - with Clemens adding two walks, while Jhon Florentino added two hits and two RBI, as well.

Man of the Match: Koby Clemens, though Lumsden is deserving.


Hm. Lancaster got jumped, losing 8-0 at Rancho Cucamonga. Brad Dydalewicz threw 0.2IP, 3H/3ER. Pat Urckfitz threw 4IP in relief, allowing 5H/1ER, 1K:1BB. Ashton Mowdy allowed 4ER on 4H/2BB and Kyle Godfrey/Mike Schurz closed out the final two innings with no runs allowed. The JetHawks only got five hits all night, two of those from Ebert Rosario (Contreras, Wikoff, and Flores with your other three).

Man of the Match: David Flores


Lexington and West Virginia were tied up 1-1 heading into the 8th inning when Our Boy Aaron Bray broke it with an RBI double, and Grant Hogue knocked in Bray. West Virginia got one back in the top of the 9th, but the Legends win 3-2. Juan Minaya threw 6IP, 2H/1ER, 7K:1BB, while Wander Alvino got the blown save and the win. Kirk Clark recorded his 10th save of the season. J.D. Martinez was 3x4 with two doubles, while Jake Goebbert and Aaron Bray were 2x4 each.

Man of the Match: Aaron Bray

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Recap for G54: Astros v. Nationals

Jeebus. Carlos Lee went from Goat to MotM, because he couldn't field what called "a soft fly ball" in the top half of the 9th to hitting the game-winning homer in the bottom half of the 9th. Astros win 6-4.

Why They Won

Because Carlos Lee redeemed himself with a walk-off two run homer to left.

Astros Pitching

Moehler5.15/23:167-45 (67.2%)15/3
Byrdak0.10/00:03-2 (66.7%)0/0
Daigle0.12/00:014-7 (50%)2/0
Fulchino11/00:08-6 (75%)2/0
Lyon11/01:015-10 (66.7%)2/5
Lindstrom13/21:023-16 (69.6%)4/4

This game almost got away from the Astros. If it wasn't for some iffy defending - on both sides - we'd be looking at a series split. Instead, the Astros win their first series since the sweep at St. Louis from May 11-13.

Lindstrom should have recorded his 12th save of the season. Instead, with two outs, Willie Harris tripled because Lee let the ball drop in front of him, and roll past him, scoring Mike Morse for the tying run, and then giving up a Cristian Guzman single to score Harris for the 4-3 Nationals lead.

Incidentally, this was Lindstrom's third two-run outing in his last four games. In his first 19 games, he had given up five earned runs.

Astros hitting

Okay, Carlos Lee. Maybe you do want to get traded, after all. Lee goes 2x5 with 3RBI including the aforementioned walk-off bomb - his second of the season - and has homered in consecutive games for the first time since May 18-19 (I'll admit, I thought it would be longer than that.)

Kevin Cash hit his first homer since September 2008, and Berkman hit a big fly, as well, meaning that this was the Astros' first 3HR game of the season.

Had the game gotten away, it would have been a total team loss. From the start of the game until Berkman's 3rd inning homer, the Astros went 6x10 (with a reach on Guzman's error). From the next AB (Lee's) until the 9th inning, the Astros went 3x20, 2BB, ROE. And then got three runs in the 9th, thanks to Guzman's second error of the game (and Riggleman's decision to put him in right field, despite Berkman's aptitude to pull the ball). Lee homered, and there's your ball game.

Multi-hit games: Berkman (2x5, RBI), Lee (2x5, 3RBI), Cash (2x3).
0-fers: Manzella (0x4)

Man of the Match: As much as I don't want to, I have no choice. Carlos Lee.

Goat of the Game: Matt Lindstrom. The case could be made that the two runs should have been unearned because of Lee.

Berkman on umpires: This happens all the time

In McTaggart's afternoon notebook, he asked a couple of the Astros how they feel about this whole Jim Joyce/Andres Armando Galarraga snafu.

"It's heartbreaking to seek Jim Joyce, who's one of the better umpires and one of the more liked umpires, to have that happen to him. I know he's heartbroken over it. I'm also appreciative of how Galarraga handled it. He was great and showed an amazing amount of poise and courtesy. That was impressive to see, and I appreciate the heck out of that, but I definitely don't want instant replay more than we already do."

"Blown calls happen all the time. It's not an uncommon occurrence, and these guys are the best in the world at what they do. People make mistakes. I don't think it's a poor reflection on umpiring. It's a lot tougher than people realize because the game happens so fast. Things happen so quickly and many times in a baseball game the whole outcome rests on one call, so it's important to get them right. But baseball has survived 150 years without [replay] and will probably be around, if the world is, in another 150 years."

For instance, Monday night...

2010 Wasted Outs

Back in October we ran a post on how dumb the Astros were. It referred to an ESPN Insider-only article discussing Wasted Outs, in which a team does something stupid like, (a) Sac bunts, (b) GIDPs, (c) Caught Stealing, and (d) making errors.

So let's see who needs to run some laps (100+ PAs only)!

PlayerGIDPsSac BuntsCSErrorsTotal

So that's 84 wasted outs (not counting G54, which is ongoing) - or over three games' worth - in 53 games.

Englebrook clears waivers

Alyson Footer is tweeting that Evan Englebrook has cleared waivers, been sent to Round Rock, and has been optioned off the 40-man roster.

Call to the Pen busts up Ross Seaton

Harsh words from Call to the Pen's "This Week in Prospects" on Ross Seaton:

t’s unfair to pick on a guy who pitches in Lancaster for his 5.37 ERA, but Seaton just doesn’t strike guys out. He’s K’ed just 36 in 58 innings this year, and just 88 in 136 2/3 last year. If you’re only getting 5 or 6 K/9 in the low minors, how are you going to get anyone to swing and miss in the majors?

Seaton has some stuff—a low-90’s heater and solid slider—but the only reason he gets hyped is that the Astros’ system is so weak. He can get grounders, but isn’t the Chien-Ming Wang-type of guy who can live on grounders alone.

Right now, Seaton projects as a filler fifth starter, a la Shane Loux. He’ll probably need to move to relief to have any sort of big league impact, and even then, he’s not a lock to make much of a positive contribution.

These things are true:
-Seaton isn't flashing much in the way of strikeout power: 5.5 K/9 in 2010 so far, down from 5.8 K/9 in 2009.
-Walks are up. 3.1 BB/9 in 2010, up from 2.6 in 2009.
-Hits are up. 11.2 H/9 in 2010, up from 9.0 in 2009.

But keep in mind, he's still 19. This is his second full season in pro ball, having only pitched in three games in 2008. So maybe projecting him to the bullpen is a little premature.

They're still pissed in Washington over Berkman's "checked" swing

So remember the other night when Berkman went three-quarters of the way around, got the call, and then the game-winning double in the 9th? Yeah, so do Nationals fans. It's a long chat with Tom Boswell, allow me to pull the appropriate quote:

Sec314: While Bud's busy overruling calls, get him to overrule the check swing call on Berkman the other night and give the Nats the win.

Tom Boswell: Was that awful or what. Even worse when I saw it on re-replay before last night's game. If Fat Elvis had hit that ball with his "checked" swing, it might have ended up in the Crawford boxes.

Those are the kind of plays that leave a mark and haunt a team for a period of time. It can change a whole chunk of a season. It's part of the manager's job to find some way to get the team's mind AWAY for that stolen game and back in the present. If Rig's got a full-blown (semi-fake) tirade in his repertoire, he should throw it this afternoon and make Bill Hohn eject him.

Hohn's ejection of Oswalt on Monday wasn't his best moment, but when Roy pointed at Hohn, shouted and, thus, showed him up, he was asking for it. The problem is that, since MLB strangled the ump's union and took over the Blue operation, the same MLB executives who control the umpires now are also, in some cases, team officials. So, when the Astros execs went ballistic over Oswalt it had an intimidating __and pro-Astro effect__ that would have happened when crazy Richie Phillips had their back. If Hohn had banged out Berkman, like he should have, the very next night to end a tough defeat, he really would have had reason to wonder if he was damaging his career. When MLB runs the umps, then the umps have to worry about angering any one one, or any one influential exec, too much. Oswalt and Beckman, back to back? A lot will call Hohn "gutless." In fact, I did. I hope I didn't wake my wife. Though it's the word I used after gutless that would have done the trick. But if you think about it, you can sympathize. A little. Almost.

Okay, NOT.

Eddie's Farm Employees of the Month!

I know it's June 3, but I've been busy getting sunburned. And now that we're back at it, it's time to name the Eddie's Farm Employees of the Month for May.

Round Rock

Position Player: Jason Bourgeois. This could have been between a few players (Johnson, Bogusevic, Castro, etc), but how do you not give it to a guy who hit .387/.421/.571 over 29 games in May? He only struck out 12 times in 119 ABs, and hit 13 extra-base hits.

Pitcher: Casey Daigle. Daigle pitched in 15.2IP (14 games) in May, allowing 3ER with 13K:3BB, posting a 1.72 ERA/1.15 WHIP.


Position Player: Jack Shuck. Shuck hit .317/.388/.423, with 15K:12BB in 28 games for the Hooks in May.

Pitcher: This was down to Arguello, Lyles, and Lumsden. But ultimately, Doug Arguello wins. Arguello went 4-1 with 8ER allowed in 36.1IP for a 1.98 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP in May.


Position Player: Mark Ori. Ori followed up an April in which he hit .275/.375/.319 by hitting .352/.364/.438 and 20RBI.

Pitcher: Dallas Keuchel. In six May starts, Keuchel had a 3.29 ERA (over three runs/9 better than April) and a 1.28 WHIP.


Position Player: J.D. Martinez. Hit .339/.411/.587 with 17 XBH-22RBI for the month. Posted a .940 OPS in April, and followed that up with a .998 OPS in May.

Pitcher: Robby Donovan. In 30IP in May, he was 3-1, allowing five earned runs for a 1.50 ERA/1.20 WHIP.

Baseball America's *Mock* Draft

Baseball America ran their own mock draft - but with a caveat:

This isn't a prediction of how the first round will unfold, but rather what would happen if our lead draft writers were in charge of each team's scouting department.

Who did they have the Astros picking?

#8: Zack Cox - 3B, Arkansas
Whitson has become the No. 2 prep pitcher in this draft, though I wonder if the Mets' on-the-hot-seat front office won't rather have a guy who could help quicker. As for the Astros, I'm sold on Zack Cox, so I'm taking him here. The questions some teams have about Cox don't bother me. He's the best pure hitter in the draft, and he has enough strength in his 6-foot, 215-pound frame for me to believe he'll have at least average power. He has a strong arm and works hard, and if there's a position where you can become a decent defender by taking a ton of grounders, it's third base. I see him as a .300 hitter with 15-20 homers per year at the hot corner, and the Astros don't have a guy like that. Cox is a draft-eligible sophomore who's reportedly angling for an above-slot deal, but if gambles on re-entering the draft, I don't see how he can do any better in 2011, when there should be a deeper pool of talent.

#19: Brandon Workman - P, Texas
It might be tempting for the Astros to redraft Arkansas two-way talent Brett Eibner with this pick, making up for not signing him out of high school in 2007. Instead, I'm going to go with Brandon Workman. He has been part of the nation's best college pitching staff at Texas this year and could move quickly to the big leagues.

Eddie's Farm: June 2

Round Rock

Rained out.


Springfield threatened, but ultimately fell short in a game that saw the trading of 6-run innings. Here are your lead changes: 1-0 Springfield, 4-1 Corpus, 7-5 Springfield, 12-8 Corpus, and Corpus holds on for a 12-11 win. Doug Arguello threw 4.2IP, 11H/6ER (8R), 1K:2BB in an effort that saw his ERA rise to 3.07. Erik Stiller threw two scoreless innings, while Brian Wabick and Matt Nevarez gave up three late runs that cut the lead to 12-11 while Henry Villar struck out the side for his 4th save. Jack Shuck, German Duran, Koby Clemens, and T.J. Steele all had two hits, while Clemens had 5RBI on the night thanks to a 1st inning grand slam. Steele and Cook added solo shots, as well.

Man of the Match: Koby Clemens


The JetHawks took a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the 1st, and then gave up six unanswered runs for a 6-4 loss to Bakersfield. Brad Dydalewicz faced five batters before leaving the game for a currently unknown reason before Dallas Keuchel came in and gave up 12H/5ER, 5K:0BB for his second loss of the season (and an 11.42 ERA). Cespedes and Berner closed out the final two innings. Jay Austin, Mark Ori, and David Flores had two hits each, with Flores getting 3RBI - 2 on an 8th inning homer.

Man of the Match: David Flores


The Legends found themselves down 2-0, but scored five runs and tacked on another in the 8th for a 6-3 win over West Virginia. Robby Donovan continued an excellent season with 6IP, 6H/1ER (2R), 4K:0BB. Arcenio Leon gave up three hits and a run, and Kirk Clark got his 9th save of the season with four perfect outs. Jonathan Meyer was 3x4 with 2RBI. Grant Hogue, Jake Goebbert, J.D. Martinez, and Jose Altuve had two hits each, with Altuve hitting a double and a homer.

Man of the Match: Jonathan Meyer

Kevin Bass to appear at Hall of Fame Classic

Hey, if you're not doing anything Father's Day weekend, head up to Cooperstown for the Hall of Fame Classic. Bass will suit up with Gary Carter, Bob Feller, Rollie Fingers, Goose Gossage, Harmon Killebrew, Phil Niekro and Ozzie Smith and 20 other former major-leaguers in the seven inning exhibition game on June 20.

Oswalt wants to go to three teams. Wait, no he doesn't.

Ed Price of FanHouse had a report that Roy has a very particular list:

An official from another team said word going around is that Roy Oswalt would approve a trade only to the Phillies, Yankees or Cardinals.

But wait. McTaggart says it ain't so:

Astros pitcher Roy Oswalt, who's been the subject of numerous rumors and admitted last month he had requested a trade to a contender, said Wednesday he's not aware of a list of teams to which he would approve a trade.

Roy will get approximately $92,592 per game (that's $15m divided by 162) in 2010, and $98,765 per game in 2011. If he was traded today, there would be 108 games to play, plus 162 in 2011, and using this math - which could very well be flawed - the destination team would be required to pay Roy approximately $25,999,936 over the life of the current guaranteed contract, assuming the Astros don't pick up any of his salary.

So let's say he's not traded until 11:59 on July 31. The destination team would be on the hook for just ~$5.37m of this season, a savings of $4.5 million-ish. That's a decent savings for a team to wait on.

Dave Clark: Manager

Hey! Good for Dave Clark!

Clark will be managing the Licey Tigres in the Dominican Winter League this off-season.

“I've always wanted to manage, and this will give me an opportunity to do something in the offseason. It gets me back in the saddle. I'm looking forward to it. This is another step to let people know that I am out there and still have interest in doing it.”

Keppinger can thank Berkman for getting his shot. Apparently.

Justice's column yesterday has a focus on Jeff Keppinger, who played his way into the 2B1 spot this season. And the reason he's back? Lance Berkman.

“I told (Wade) I thought Keppinger was a great baseball player and that I really like the way he approaches his at-bats. I thought he needed a chance to be an everyday player at some point...

...We were talking about the team and some things that could be done. To me, he's just a gritty ballplayer, a winning-type player.”


Carlos Lee "looks like he doesn't care"

Oooh! Stan McNeal calls out Carlos Lee in a piece about Roy being one of the ten players most likely to be traded!

If a club comes calling for Carlos Lee, however, it could have him for his contract. Lee is due $18.5 million a year through 2012 and, according to a scout, "looks like he doesn't even care." (I will second that opinion. In an early season game at Busch Stadium, Lee strolled into the Astros' clubhouse about 10 minutes before stretching -- long after the rest of his teammates already had dressed).


Maybe Berkman won't be going to LA

Hey, remember when we posted that Lance Berkman might be an option for the Angels to replace poor, broken Kendry Morales?

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that their "excellent baseball sources" say the Angels are in discussions with the Cubs to acquire Derrek Lee.

Lee is making $13 million this season in the final year of his contract while Berkman makes $14.5 million with a $2m option for 2011.

Recap for G53: Astros v. Nationals

Come on, Astros. If you keep beating the Nationals like this, Roy won't think they're a contender, and then there will be no way Steve Phillips will ever trade us Stephen Strasburg! Astros win 5-1.

Why They Won

Because I sat Wandy Rodriguez in my fantasy league, naturally. Or because every position player got a hit. Or because Ian Desmond cost the Nationals three runs by himself with his three errors. Or because the bullpen threw 4IP, 2H/0ER, 5K:0BB.

Astros Pitching

Wandy55/18:3115-67 (58.3%)20/15
Lopez10/02:012-9 (75%)3/2
Byrdak0.21/01:014-10 (71.4%)4/1
Daigle1.11/00:017-9 (52.9%)3/1
Chacin10/02:010-7 (70%)2/4

First-pitch strikes! Wandy threw 16 of 24, and the bullpen threw first-pitch strikes to 10 of the 14 batters they faced.

Wandy's eight strikeouts were the most he has recorded in a game since September 27, 2009 (nine, against the Reds) and his 114 pitches were also a season high. But the turning points of the game came in the 4th and 5th innings. With a 2-1 lead, Wandy got Zimmerman swinging, hit Willingham with a pitch, allowed a double and a walk to load the bases, and then took advantage of the 8-9 spots, striking out Nieves and Lannan to end the inning.

Same situation in the 5th. Adam Dunn singled, Zimmerman walked, Willingham got on first thanks to catcher's interference to load the bases (and this is all after Wandy picked off Nyjer Morgan). Ian Desmond - who I'm sure qualifies as the Goat for a Nationals blog - grounded out to short to end the inning.

But let's give it up to Casey Daigle (whose first name is "Sean," which could make him the answer to a "Baseball Before And After" clue on Wheel of Fortune). Daigle appeared in his first major-league game since May 21, 2006.

Astros hitting

Despite going 2x11 w/RISP (Pence and Lee), the offense was a total team effort. Only Pedro Feliz had more than one hit (2x4), and the RBIs coming on Carlos Lee's 2-run shot and Hunter Pence's 2-run triple.

Let's pause for a second, shall we? In 24 games since May 8 (because he was benched on May 7), Pence is 33x92 (.359) with 9K:6BB, and 13 extra-base hits.

The Astros saw 50 fewer pitches than the Nationals, continuing a disturbing trend (granted: the Astros had to pitch the 9th, and the Nationals didn't.) However, the Astros had 12 PAs of one or two pitches.

Pitches/Plate Appearance: (118 pitches, 39 plate appearances) 3.03.

Man of the Match: How about Carlos Lee? A two-run homer AND a walk!

Goat of the Game: I'm feeling froggy in my first day back at the helm since Friday night. No Goat.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

One more day

Bear with me. Today is a getaway day. Will return to full schedule tomorrow AM.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

No fine for Oswalt

Roy Oswalt said that he was ejected for yelling at himself yesterday, and MLB agreed.

Mark Berman:
Bob Watson, MLB's vice-president in charge of discipline, rules and on-field operations, told FOX 26 Sports Tuesday Oswalt will not be penalized further.

Watson went on to say the umpire in question, Bill Hohn, will be getting a phone call from Mike Port, MLB's vice-president of umpiring.

"There will be nothing further coming from our office," Watson said. "There will be no further penalties for Roy Oswalt.

"The umpire will be talked to by Mike Port in a very stern way."

Sampson to DL, Daigle called up

Big story today is that of Chris Sampson's placement on the DL with tendinitis in his right rotator cuff. This resulted in Casey Daigle getting the call-up to the Big Club.

In order to make room on the 40-Man Roster, Evan Englebrook was designated for assignment.

MLBTR had this, on Englebrook:
Englebrook, 28, has a 6.46 ERA, 8.7 K/9, and 5.3 BB/9 in 23.6 Triple A relief innings this year. Baseball America ranked him 23rd among Astros prospects heading into the season, noting that his mid-90s fastball is his only above-average pitch.

Joel Roza makes us nervous

The Caller Times' Joel Roza has this article in which he breaks down Ed Wade's history in trading his stars mid-season. The verdict? It's not pretty:

The scary part to the two mercy trades he made with Philly is, in both instances, the traded stars won World Series rings with their new teams while the players Wade acquired did not...

...History has played out almost identically for him so far. He takes over a fledgling franchise, piles on smart draft after smart draft while congruently stacking on bad contract and bad trade after bad contract and bad trade. Its things like that which give one reason to believe that the Astros, if they do actually deal away Oswalt, Berkman, Myers and others, won’t get all that they could in any given deal.

R.I.P. Jeriome Robertson

Sad news from over the weekend as we found out former Astro Jeriome Robertson died in a motorcycle crash. He was 33.

In December 2008 we ran a Wherefore Art Thou piece on the former pitcher. In 2003 he was 15-9 with a 5.10 ERA - the highest number of wins by a rookie in franchise history.

Robertson was a 24th round draft choice in 1995, and joined the rotation full time as SP3 in 2003. His season did not start so great: 4.1IP, 10H/8ER on April 3 vs. Colorado. Bouncing back with a 7IP, 2H/1ER, 8K:3BB performance againt the Reds, it took him until May 22 to get his second win, having been skipped in the rotation between his 6th and 7th starts.

From May 22-July 22, Robertson was 9-0 with a 3.04 ERA with a 1.23 WHIP, and the Astros were 11-1 in his starts.

Robertson's 15 wins were good for 9th in the NL, and his .625 winning percentage was 7th in the League.

Employees of the Month!

Another month in this miserable season has come and gone, and it's time to reward someone with an arbitrary award!

Employees of the Month receive 10% in the store, and get to park up front.

Position Players

Hunter Pence. Turned around a .579 OPS in April to an .852 OPS in May, hitting .302/.333/.519 in 106 ABs. In April, he struck out 11 times in 84 PAs and struck out the same amount in 106 PAs in May.


Roy would normally get this - but not this month. This goes to Brett Myers, who was 2-1 in five starts with a 2.65 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP. The Astros won nine games all month, and three of those when Myers pitched (the other two were both 4-3 losses).

Monday, May 31, 2010

Frankie Piliere's new mock draft

Piliere put up an updated mock draft over at FanHouse today. Who does he have the Astros taking at #8 and #19?

#8: Michael Choice - OF, UT-Arlington
Despite rumors of Houston being in on prep players like Stetson Allie and Josh Sale at this spot, what I have heard is that Houston is looking for very signable guys and will look for a college bat in this spot. They'd like a chance at Josh Sale, but it seems like they'd rather have him at their second first-round pick. It's possible he could go here, but a college bat like Choice makes more sense, and they have scouted him heavily all spring. Brandon Workman has been mentioned here as well, if they do decide to go the pitching route. Aside from the Mets, they are the highest-picking team to show heavy interest in Kvasnicka, but word is they'd also prefer him at 19 rather than eight.

#19: Michael Kvasnicka - C/OF, Minnesota
Houston is very high on Kvasnicka and may even take him at No. 8, but that still appears unlikely. There's a lot out there about them looking into prep talents, but other clubs seem to think Houston is looking for easy-sign type players and college bats. They still could go with a prep bat here if the right guy is available or if Kvasnicka is gone. And, the reality is Kvasnicka has a very good chance to be gone.

G51 Preview Nats v. Astros

In the first game of a four game set against the Nats, The Astros will attempt to build on the late inning heroics by Lance Berkman and strong pitching performance by Felipe Paulino yesterday in a 2-0 win against the Reds.

The Nats have some exciting young players and are a serious contender in the Roy O sweepstakes. So everyone put on your fake scout caps and start making out your shopping list of Nats players (Put Zimmerman on the top of mine please). The past years of crappiness have produced alot of 1st round, elite-level talent and they are in need of a veteran ace like Oswalt if they are going to make a real playoff push.

IMO, the most amazing piece of the whole scenario is that it is even a freaking possibility. The Nats are competitive, they have money to spend and they have an abundance of prospects and major leaguers they are willing to move. It just feels strange.

So with all the talk of Roy O, it only makes sense that he takes the mound today against the Nats. He has had a fantastic season throwing quality starts in every start so far this year. If not for his fickle teammates, he'd have a more impressive win-loss record than his current 3-6. He sports a sparkly 2.35 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP.

The Nats counter with rookie righthander, Luis Atilano, who hasn't done anything impressive this season except be the beneficiary of excellent run support. He is the anti-Oswalt in that he gives up runs, doesn't strike anyone out, yet continues to get wins. He is a very lucky 4-1 so far.


WP: Roy Oswalt
LP: Atilano

HRs: Lance, Zimmerman
SB: Pence, N. Morgan

Score: Hou 7 Wash 2

My gut instinct says that during the game today, Nats fans cheer wildly for Roy O, making everyone uncomfortable. Especially, Atilano, who will be out of a job if Roy is acquired.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Nick Cafardo on Roy's possibilities

Nick Cafardo spends a decent amount of space talking about Roy Oswalt. What does he say?

Oswalt appears to be the prize for teams needing a front-of-the-rotation starter.

What makes more sense is the Dodgers, if they can take on payroll — and it appears they may be able to. Owner Frank McCourt, embroiled in a divorce, tightened the purse springs this offseason, but the Dodgers need a head-of-the-rotation guy and have made inquiries on Oswalt and Cliff Lee.

One team Oswalt would want to play for is St. Louis, but the feeling is the Astros wouldn’t deal him within the division.

White Sox
Astros organizational people feel Oswalt would not want to go to an American League team, but the chance to be reunited with best friend Jake Peavy in Chicago could change that.

And Cafardo stays in pretty close contact with Mills, who had this to say about the struggles of the team:
“Any time you take a job, it’s going to be challenging, and we’re up for those challenges. There were a few challenges that maybe we didn’t expect and that we didn’t see coming. We definitely didn’t see the offense being a challenge, especially from the people who are struggling."

On how he dealt with the news of Oswalt and Berkman wanting out:
“Obviously it’s there and we’re dealing with it. When I heard the comments, I went to both players and asked, ‘Is it the city, the manager, the team? What is it?’ Both guys indicated they’re getting older and they’d like a chance to win soon and they’d like to help the organization out by bringing back some good young players. So I understand where they’re coming from."

Let's get this straight. Mills' job should not be in jeopardy until 2018. This was a train-wreck of a roster that needed everything to go right - and in order - for 2010 not to be a complete cluster (you can finish that), which is exactly what has happened. I did not think the Astros would compete for the whole season, thinking they'd finish around 75 wins. They would have to finish the season 58-54 to hit that. This is not his fault. Sean Berry, however...

Berkman an option for the Angels?

Checking in from vacation, but without stealing the thunder of your loyal Deputies Street and Jason (so I'll leave the game recap to one of them), I was watching SportsCenter last night, and overshadowed by Roy Halladay's perfect game (funny comment: I don't know who said it - or where - but I did read that the way to distinguish baseball commentors/bloggers/writers is by their ability to correctly match "Halladay," "Holliday," "Roy," and "Matt." Genius.) was Kendry Morales' Gramatica-esque injury at home plate.

Why is this important to us? Because the LA Times' Mike DiGiovanna lists Lance as a possibility to replace Morales at 1B:

The Angels should have plenty of outside options to replace injured first baseman Kendry Morales, who suffered a lower left-leg fracture in a freak mishap while celebrating his walk-off grand slam on Saturday, and the two most attractive may be Chicago White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko and Houston Astros first baseman Lance Berkman...

...The problem for the Angels is that, with other teams knowing they will be desperate to add a middle-of-the-order bat, the Angels will have little leverage in trade negotiations and might have to wait until closer to the July 31 trade deadline, when asking prices usually come down, to make a deal.

The Angels also don't have many high-end prospects, especially in the upper levels of their farm system, so the caliber of player they trade for probably will hinge on how much they are willing to deplete their farm system for a first baseman they might only need for this season.

Que interesante! What say you, dear reader?

Roy's One-Way Ticket: Detroit

Because keeping all of those quotes, notes, and rumors in one post is getting lengthy, let's break this down by team in separate posts. As these come in, they will be updated and reposted.


Latest status: Interested

Buster Olney (5/30):
The three teams that might be the best fit on paper to get Oswalt: the Twins, the Tigers and the Angels. And the reason why the Tigers might make the most sense is that they're more willing than other teams to spend money -- and the question of how much other teams are willing to absorb Oswalt's remaining salary could be the deciding factor in any trade talks with Houston.

WDIV Detroit (5/24):
The Tigers contacted the Houston Astros about their ace right-hander over the weekend and are apparently willing to make a deal, my baseball moles told on Monday. Last week, Oswalt asked the Astros to trade him. After nearly 10 seasons in Houston, Oswalt said he is ready to move on and he wants to pitch for a contender. Enter the Tigers.

Buster Olney:
The Tigers could use a veteran starter like Oswalt, and Detroit has always been willing to spend aggressively when the team has a chance to win, but it's unclear whether the Tigers would be willing to surrender their best young pitching prospects to make a deal -- or whether Oswalt would want to play for Detroit.

Preview G50 Astros v Reds

The AstBros take on the Reds in a day game to finish up a 3 game set. So far the Reds have treated their guest as rudely as Jeffery Dahmer in beating the AstBros 15-6 and 12-2. If things don't change dramatically in this final game, this will be the low point in the season without a doubt. I will look back at this weekend 10 years from now and say, "Damn, at least we're not that bad."


WP: Paulino gets his first
LP: Leake gets his first

HR: geez, how about Stubbs, Votto and Berkman
SB: Bourn, Pence

I feel like the game will be delayed by Locusts today as we are surely at the end of days. There is no other explanation for the juxtaposistion between our two clubs.

Happy Memorial Day weekend and don't forget to look for the special gameday hats tomorrow.

Oswalt and Astros in Uneasy Limbo

Per The New York Times baseball writer Tyler Kepner.

Lance Berkman trying to walk a fine line in talking about an uneasy situation:

“I understand where he’s coming from. But we signed a contract here, they made a long-term commitment to us, and now that things are bad – you know what I’m saying? And I don’t think Roy has necessarily come out and demanded to be traded. I think his whole point is, if there’s some interest from other teams, I would be willing to do something. So maybe it’s semantics. But I still feel like as long as Roy’s here, he’s going to give us everything he’s got. I don’t think he’s jumping ship or anything." “But I understand where he’s coming from. You get older, and the motivation to come to the ballpark gets less and less, especially if you’re not playing on a team you feel like has a chance.”

Michael Bourn on Oswalt's desire to be traded and Berkman's willingness to be traded:

“I know they’re frustrated with the way things are going. But I just hope that they don’t give up on us, because we’re not going to give up on them. I never give up on whoever’s on the mound or whoever’s out there. I’m just going to always have their back, whether I’m here for one year or 10 years. I know they want to be on a winning team; we all do. I do too. Nobody who plays any sport wants to be on a losing team. But you’ve got to stick through the rough edges. These are the rough times right now. You’ve just got to stick to them. There’s good times coming.”

Jim Deshaies, former Astros LHP and long time television broadcaster for the team, adds some perspective to Oswalt's request to be traded:

“It’s almost a win/win for the club. If you keep him and he pitches well, you have a chance to win more games. And if you trade him, you get presumably good prospects in return, and you don’t take that P.R. hit for trading a franchise icon because he came out and said, ‘I want to be traded.’ The club says, ‘We know people love him, he’s done great things for us, been a hero for us, but we accommodated his desire to be traded.’ ”

They all make valid points, but I especially appreciate the commentary from JD. The fact that Roy asked for a trade, should he ultimately be traded, could quell much of the presumed outrage the team would receive for trading a team icon. "We accommodated his desire to be traded" could go a long way towards pleasing the unwashed masses...

Dominican Summer League action has begun

The DSL Astos opened their season on Saturday with an 11 inning 5-4 win over the DSL Pirates. The DSL Astros website may be found here.

Making a run for the border

Zach Levine has had enough of the Astros. No, not really. Zach is 'good peoples,' and has an understanding that Astros' fans care not only about the big club, but also its affiliates. And to accommodate his readers, as well as appease his own intellectual curiosity, rather that following the Astros for their next series, Levine is taking the opportunity to make a road trip. Yep, he'll be making a run for the Ohio border in route to Lexington, Kentucky to see the Astros low-A affiliate Lexington Legends play a game against the Greensboro Grasshoppers and a couple against the West Virginia Power.

For those of you not up on the Legends (which I would presume is a minority of those following Astros County), the team includes a number of kids to keep an eye on including two of my favorites: J.D. Martinez and 5'5" Jose Altuve. Be sure to keep an eye on his blog next week to read about Martinez, Altuve, and a number of other notables including 2009 first round pick Jio Mier and second round pick Tanner Bushue. In the interim, if you have questions, Levine is willing to listen and has offered you the opportunity to post those questions on his blog. Remember, ask early and often.