Saturday, June 12, 2010

Astros reach agreement with Kvasnicka

The Astros have reached an agreement with 33rd overall pick Mike Kvasnicka. No word on signing bonus.

Here's an excerpt from a Q&A (click for full article - it's worth it) with Kvasnicka in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

I knew they were interested in me. But I don't know a whole lot except I'm a huge Lance Berkman fan, a big Craig Biggio fan. And Nolan Ryan. I consider myself a throwback. All the names I drop are usually old-school guys. I don't know too much else, but I'll found out soon.

DeShields is "asking for the moon"

According to LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri, Delino DeShields Jr wants a ton of money, and will probably get it.

“DeShields surprised me just a little bit. I thought he’d probably go in the second round. He’s asking for the moon. My guess is he’s probably going to get it where he got drafted, and we’ll probably end up losing him.”

Poor LSU...

John Sickels' Astros Draft Recap

Over at Minor League Ball, John Sickels broke down the Astros' draft, with notes and comments on the first ten rounds worth of picks.

The Astros have gone against consensus in recent drafts and have had good results with it. DeShields and Folty were moving up draft boards rapidly, and while both might be slight overdrafts, neither were going to be around for subsequent picks and I don't think either are super-stretches. The Astros wanted them, so they picked them. I don't see anything wrong with that. Kvasnicka was slotted well, and college guys Wates and Doran went in appropriate rounds. Velasquez will need lots of time. Shirley is pretty raw for a college guy but intriguing from the left side. If they somehow sign Jacoby Jones away from LSU, this would be a terrific class. As it stands, it still looks pretty decent to me.

Not so fast, says Foltynewicz

Stephen Goff of The Examiner is doing work. He found out that 19th overall pick Mike Foltynewicz and the Astros ain't quite agreed yet:

"We're not at an agreement just yet. A couple of things need to fall into place here or there. My parents and I will come to Houston on Thursday to try to get it all worked out."

Although we shouldn't get all in a twist:
"We're definitely going to get it."

Astros sign three more picks

We already knew about 15th Round pick Jamaine Cotton, but the Astros ">have also signed:

24th Round pick Adam Champion
40th Round pick Jeremiah Meiners

From the Office of the County Clerk - G63: Astros @ Yankees

This couldn't be going much worse, huh? Maybe everyone who wanted the Astros to trade Wandy in the offseason had something going here. Astros lose 9-3.

*Wandy gave up eight earned runs in an outing for the second time this season, and the second in four starts, last giving up 8ER in 3.1IP at Cincinnati. Prior to that May 28 game, Wandy hadn't given up that many earned runs since August 20, 2009, when he gave up 10ER in 4IP at Milwaukee.

*This is Wandy's 9th loss of the season. He didn't lose his 9th game until August 30 in 2009. Through 13 starts in 2010, Wandy's ERA is 5.60 with a 1.67 WHIP and a .317 BAA. Through 13 starts in 2009, Wandy had a 2.82 ERA, with a 1.22 WHIP, and a .258 BAA.

*Derek Jeter hit two homers today - one against Wandy and one against Fulchino. The last time he hit two homers in a game was August 27, 2006 at LAA.

*And when Jorge Posada hit a grand slam in the third inning, it was also just the second grand slam that Wandy has ever allowed. In 2010, Wandy had only loaded the bases for six plate appearances, allowing one hit.

*Berkman was 0x4 today, for the third straight game, and the fifth time in his last six games. He now has one hit in his last 24 ABs.

*Jeff Keppinger had his fifth three-hit game. Interestingly enough, or it wouldn't be in this space, when Keppinger has three hits, the Astros are 2-3.

*On this road swing, the Astros have ten extra-base hits in six games. The three XBHs (double by Keppinger, homers by Pence and Lee) were the highest number since June 5. They also lost that game.

Pitch Count Hero: Michael Bourn (0x4), 20 pitches in four PAs
Pitch Count Punk: Hunter Pence (1x4), 9 pitches in four PAs.

Man of the Match: Jeff Keppinger

Goat of the Game: Wandy Rodriguez

Ed Wade explains the organizational philosophy...kind of.

In an article on 15th Round pick Jamaine Cotton's signing, Ed Wade explained what the Astros are going for:

"If anybody is wondering what the philosophy is of the organization, the word is getting out to the kids, because this is a chance to get in and prove what they're capable of doing and get to the big leagues as soon as possible."

So it's a salary dump, then

Significantly reducing the potential package they'll get for Roy, the Astros want the destination team to take all of Roy's remaining contract.

The Astros are saying that any team that wants to acquire Oswalt will have to take on all of what remains on his contract, according to a baseball source who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Coach thinks 10th Round pick Grills will sign

FGCU coach Dave Tollett thinks that Astros 10th Round pick Evan ("Bear") Grills will ultimately sign with Houston.

Astros agree to deal with Foltynewicz

Astros 19th overalll pick Mike Foltynewicz has apparently agreed to a deal with the Astros for $1.3 million.

McTaggart has some quotes from advisor Bobby Witt:

"Some of the other things regarding school and other stuff have to be worked out. As far as the Astros and terms, they have been agreed upon."

Fallout from Roy's fist-slamming trade pleas

CBS Sports' Danny Knobler has some reaction:

An Oswalt trade remains so complicated that many people around the Astros remain convinced it won't happen -- that despite Oswalt's request that the Astros consider dealing him, he'll still be with Houston when the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline passes...Despite what Oswalt said Friday, people who know him remain convinced that there are only a few teams he would actually agree to move to. And while Oswalt insisted Friday that there's no "list," the feeling is that there are fewer than half a dozen teams that he would even seriously consider...

...So yes, Roy Oswalt says he'd go anywhere. But it's still a good bet that he'll go nowhere.

More Draft signings!

The Chronicle also says that seven more draft picks have signed:

14th Round pick Jordan Scott (HS)
17th Round pick Tyler Burnett
18th Round pick Josh Magee (HS)
20th Round pick Daniel Adamson
31st Round pick Travis Blankenship
33rd Round pick Mike Ness
37th Round pick Brian Streilein

Also signed 5'8" 160lb SS Jonathan Merritt, out of UAB. He hit .295/.417/.497 with 33K:32BB in 2010.

From Alabama's NBC 13:
The Douglasville, Ga., product was a four-year starter at UAB and finished his career this spring with a second-team all-conference season. He led the Blazers with 15 doubles while also hitting six home runs, scoring 47 runs, driving in 45 and stealing 13 bases in 13 attempts. A career .309 hitter, Merritt scored more runs (194) and recorded more at-bats (851) than any player in UAB history. He also ranks in the top five in the Blazers’ career record book for hits (263, 3rd), doubles (54, 3rd), RBI (137, 5th) and stolen bases (61, 5th).

Roy: Please God, Get Me Out of Here

FanHouse's Ed Price talked to Roy, since he was in New York, and all, and it was the easiest place to get a hold of him. And yes, Roy still wants out. Desperately.

"Location doesn't matter," Oswalt said Friday before the Astros played the Yankees, not at all backing off his request to be traded from Houston.

"I'm only there [a new team] a year and a half. [New York] is as good as any other city. Every city I go to is big. It's different from where I grew up."

Oswalt did say he wants to go to a team that "pretty much" is a sure thing to make the postseason this year.

Hey, Roy, since this is an easy question, what about the Yankees?

"From the very beginning, I said an organization that wants to win. The Yankees surely want to win. Actually, I'd be excited to pitch over here (in the AL). Everyone keeps bragging, or keeps saying, this league's tough.

Okay, so now we know that he's willing to go to the AL. But is it Roy's fault this is blowing up? Roy doesn't think so. This is a completely selfless, altruistic move:

"Everyone tries to put this all on me. This is for both of us, I think, personally. In the whole scheme of things, it would be best for both of us. I'm not planning on playing a whole lot longer. ... I would love to be in contention, to get back into the playoffs. The biggest thing with us is our minor leagues is kind of depleted. We don't have those guys coming from the minor-league side to push us. That's why I think it would be best for both of us."

The Chronicle has this, about Roy going to the Yankees:

“I think it'd be great. Me and Andy pitched together for three years and had a great time in Houston. We went to the World Series and missed it by a little bit, but he's a great teammate, always picks you up. Seems like everywhere he goes he wins.”

This is getting a little out of hand. It rubs me the wrong way, and I think we all know there is a right way and a wrong way to be rubbed. This is just...wrong. Appealing to the press on where he wants to go, and why, doesn't make me feel any better about how Roy has handled this entire process. I hope he does leave, and the Astros get some prospects, but Roy has gone - in my eyes - from one of the most-beloved Astros of all time to someone resembling an ungrateful malcontent.

From the Office of the County Clerk - G62: Astros @ Yankees

Let's all stand and hold our hands behind our back in an outward show of non-committal emotion for Andy Pettitte's 200th win as a Yankee. The Astros made it close but fell short 4-3.

*The Yankees won their 20th game at home, bringing their home record to 20-7. The Astros have won 25 games. Total.

*New York held the 1-4 spots in the order to an 0x14 day.

*After opening the first six games in June 12x26, Berkman is 1x15 on this four-game road trip.

*Tommy Manzella had this third multi-hit game in his last four games, raising his average 19 points in that span. His .219 average is the highest it's been since May 5, when a 1x3 day against Arizona took it to .224. He followed that game up with an 0x10 streak.

*Brett Myers' record dropped to 4-4 with his 7IP, 5H/4ER performance. In all 13 starts, Myers has gone 6+, and it's the seventh time that he's gone seven innings.

*Myers only threw first-pitch strikes to 10 of 28 batters. When throwing that first-pitch strike, the Yankees were 1x8, 2K:1BB.

*Myers' 1st inning struggles contined, needing to see eight batters to get three outs. In the first, the Yankees were 3x6, 2BB. Meaning that, in the first inning this season, Myers is allowing a .339/.456/.482 line. That .938 OPS is higher than in every other inning.

Pitch Count Hero: Lee (0x4) and Pence (1x3, BB) - 22 pitches in four PAs
Pitch Count Punk: Keppinger (0x3, sac) - 10 pitches in 4 PAs

Man of the Match: Tommy Manzella. He has five RBI in his last two games, and nine RBI in the first 49 games.

Goat of the Game: Michael Bourn. 0x3. 3Ks.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Eddie's Farm: June 10

Round Rock (29-31)

And that's a shutout. Another strong outing by Josh Banks, as he goes 8.1IP, 3H/0ER, 2K:3BB, for a 2-0 win over New Orleans. Roy Corcoran got the final two outs for the save. Bogusevic, Castro, and Locke had two hits each, with RBIs from Maysonet and Castro.

Man of the Match: Josh Banks

Corpus (30-28)

Old fashioned beatdown handed out by the Hooks as they dominate Midland 10-0. Jordan Lyles threw 4IP, 5H/0ER, 2K:1BB. Henry Villar threw 3IP, 2H, 4K and Edwin Walker and Erik Stiller combined for 2IP, 1H/0ER. Jimmy Van Ostrand and Wladimir Sutil had three hits each (two doubles and an RBI from Sutil). Koby Clemens hit a two-run homer and added another RBI. Jack Shuck, David Cook, and Jon Gaston had two hits each. Van Ostrand is hitting .333 (10x30) over his last ten games, and has a five game hitting streak.

Man of the Match: Wladimir Sutil

Lancaster (18-42)

Good Lord. Visalia beats the piss out of Lancaster 18-4. Kyle Greenwalt threw 4IP, 10H/9R (3ER) - yeah, the JetHawks committed four errors (three fielding by Cartwright). Mike Schurz got lit up in 2.2IP, allowing 5H/8ER, 2K:3BB, and Ashton Mowdy allowed 1ER in 2.1IP. Raul Contreras had the only multi-hit game, and the top four in the lineup (Austin, Cartwright, Barnes, and Cruz) all went 1x4 with an RBI. Lee Cruz hit his first homer for the JetHawks.

Man of the Match: Lee Cruz

Lexington (31-30)

The Legends got two in the bottom of the 12th on Aaron Bray's 2-run walkoff single for a 7-6 win over Delmarva. Jose Cisnero threw 5IP, 5H/4R (2ER), 5K:3BB while Wander Alvino, Colton Pitkin, Kirk Clark and Jose Trinidad combined for 7IP, 5H/2R (1ER). Jake Goebbert was 2x6 (two doubles) and 2RBI. Andy Simunic and Grant Hogue had two hits each, while everyone but Jiovanni Mier got a hit.

Man of the Match: Got to give it to Our Boy Aaron Bray, for the come-from-behind walkoff.

DSL Astros (2-9)

Brutal day for the bullpen, as the second DSL Yankees team scored seven runs in the last two innings to erase an 8-3 Astros lead and win 10-8. Edgar Ferreira got the start, throwing 3IP, 5H/2ER (3R), 4K:2BB. Things went swimmingly for Elias De Leon, as he held the Yankees scoreless for 4IP, allowing three hits. Then Jandal Gustave gave up three earned with three walks - no doubt helped by Cristian Hirland, and Francisco Baso gave up three runs - two earned - for the loss. Raymer Lopez and Mario Gonzalez had two hits each while Carlos Alcantara added 2RBI.

Man of the Match: Carlos Alcantara

Jake Buchanan ready for the Majors

Nice little profile on 8th Round pick Jake Buchanan, and he's ready to play.

"I see players already in the big leagues, like Buster Posey and Gordon Beckham that I've pitched against just a year or two ago. It makes me think that maybe I could be there soon, too."

Within the article we also learn that Buchanan will be heading to Tri-City to open the season.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Jamaine Cotton about to sign

15th Round pick Jamaine Cotton, out of Western Oklahoma State, said he plans to sign with the Astros for $75,000 today.

From the Office of the County Clerk - G61: Astros @ Rockies

Somehow, the Astros were outhit 8-4, Quintero accounted for 75% of the Astros hits, and the Astros still won 5-4.

*Roy Oswalt got his 4th win of the season. That's his 141st win of his career, three behind Joe Niekro for the franchise lead. His .644 win percentage is second only to Roger Clemens - whose .679 win% is the tops, but in 1,349 fewer innings.

*Oswalt didn't allow an extra-base hit for the first time since Opening Day. It's also his 11th straight quality start, if you don't count when Bill Hohn got PMS and tossed him last time out.

*Oswalt's 39 non-contact strikes tied a season-high. That number is actually the second highest of his career - he had a 43 NCS game in September 2002, and a 40 NCS game in May 2002.

*Today was Quintero's eighth multi-hit game of the year, and his first three-hit game since August 1, 2009. It was his fourth three-hit game of his career.

*Quintero was a triple away from a cycle. Too bad he had only hit one triple in his career - June 5, 2009 vs. Pittsburgh.

*Everybody but Manzella and Quintero: 0x21, 3BB. Manzella and Quintero: 4x6, 5RBI.

*How do you like this: Tommy Manzella had nine RBI coming into today. He left with 12, after a three-RBI day. 3RBI is a new career-high, after coming in with two two-RBI games.

*Pence had two walks for the second time this season. In 48 games in April/May, Pence drew seven walks. In nine games in June, Pence walks.

*The Astros are 8-2 in June so far. They were 1-9 in the first ten games in April, and 3-7 in the first ten games in May.

Pitch Count Hero: Tommy Manzella (1x2, sac) - 18 pitches in three PAs
Pitch Count Punk: Michael Bourn (0x4) - 10 pitches in four PAs

Man of the Match: Gotta be Manzella.

Goat of the Game: Berkman. 0x4 with 3Ks. In the 16 pitches Berkman saw, five were balls and Berkman either looked at or swung through six of them.

Olney: No trade talks about Roy

Buster Olney is tweeting:

Heard this: There are no trade talks in the works involving Roy Oswalt.

Well, not now. He's pitching! Ha ha ha. I have no basis for this next statement, but I honestly think that Drayton/Wade are waiting on the sale of the Rangers to go through before dealing him. And every start that goes by is a significant amount of money that the destination team will not have to pay him. And every win that Roy gets brings him closer to the all-time franchise lead.

Astros sign a literal ton of players

MLB's Official Draft Twitter account reports that the Astros have signed the following players:

4th Round pick Bobby Doran, for $237,700
8th Round pick Jake Buchanan
9th Round pick Tommy Shirley
11th Round pick Kyle Redinger
12th Round pick Andrew Robinson
16th Round pick Chris "Biggie" Wallace
26th Round pick Alex Sogard
34th Round pick Ryan Cole
41st Round pick Bryce Lane

So that's six college pitchers, a college catcher, a college outfielder, and a high school 3B (Kyle Redinger).

Travis Blankenship "excited" to sign

The Examiner did an interview with 31st Round pick LHP Travis Blankenship.

"It's a blessing and dream come true. (Astros scout) Jim (Stevenson) will come by Friday to get everything figured out. I'm excited to sign and get the opportunity to begin my pro career with the Astros...

..."I really enjoy being a reliever. To enter the game in certain situations, whether it's to get a lefty out, I enjoy doing that. It's fun to be able to pitch in back-to-back games and be a real workhorse."

Speed vs. Power in 2010 draft

Zach Levine talked to Bobby Heck about what the Astros are thinking, drafting more speed than power.

He told me that there was no broad organizational philosophy to draft for speed; they were drafting the best player available in each position, which is exactly what I expected him to say.

"The value of speed is going to be a little more appreciated as we see the power backing up."

DeMarcus Henderson "50/50" on signing

43rd Round pick DeMarcus Henderson is 50/50 on whether or not he'll sign:

Henderson was excited about the selection. “That is a huge deal to be selected out of high school,” Henderson said. “It just goes to show you that hard work pays off.”

Henderson is supposed to be meeting with Astros officials today to determine his next step. “I’m 50/50 right now on my decision,” the Mississippi State signee said. “There are still a few things I need to do to polish up my game, but if the money is right I may have to give the Astros a chance.”

Bryce Lane may sign

41st Round pick Bryce Lane may sign with the Astros, but like every other pick in the draft, it comes down to the contract negotiations.

The Columbus Ledger-Inquirer:
Lane, a 2008 Russell County graduate and two-year GCCC player, said he is leaning toward signing with the Astros, but his decision would hinge on the contract negotiations. He was scheduled to meet an Astros representative with a contract Wednesday night.

"This is the best feeling I've ever had. Despite it being the later rounds, it doesn't matter to me. I've always dreamed of playing pro ball, I've got the confidence in myself, and I'm ready to do my time at each level to get to the majors."

Eddie's Farm: June 9

Things are about to ramp up for Eddie's Farm, meaning these are about to get longer. Yippee.

Round Rock


Corpus (29-28)

Despite getting eight hits, the Hooks were shutout 3-0 at Midland. Tyler Lumsden continued his renaissance by going 6IP, 4H/3R (1ER), 3K:5BB. Nelson Payano and Brian Wabick threw 2IP, 2H/0ER. The Hooks GIDPd four times, so that hurts, and were 1x7 w/RISP. Jack Shuck was 3x4, and Lou Santangelo was 2x3 for the multi-hit games.

Man of the Match: Shuck.

Lancaster (18-41)

Brandon Barnes hit for the cycle (a day after Freddy Parejo hit for the cycle) in a 7-4 win over Visalia. Shane Wolf threw 6IP, 8H/4R (3ER), 5K:1BB, and Mike Modica tossed three perfect innings for his first save of the season. Barnes' ABs: Homer (1st inning), strikeout (3rd), triple (5th inning), double (7th inning), single (8th inning). So Barnes was 4x5 with 3RBI, and Albert Cartwright was 2x4 with 3RBI. Freddy Parejo was 2x4, and has four straight multi-hit games to give him a .357/.386/.595 line over his last ten games.

Man of the Match: Barnes

Lexington (30-30)


DSL Astros (2-7)

The DSL Astros lost a 2-0 lead for a 4-0 loss to the DSL Rays. Jose Montero threw 4IP, 1H/0ER, 5K:3BB while bullpen of Leonardo Alayon and Francisco Baso gave up 4ER in 5IP. Carlos Alcantara was 2x3 with a double, while Yonathan Mejia had the lone RBI.

Man of the Match: Jose Montero.

JaCoby Jones still planning on going to LSU. Or not.

Despite his 1st Round money offer, JaCoby Jones is leaning towards LSU.

Bubba Jones, JaCoby's father, who says the Astros called and told him they were ready to take Jones with the 8th pick:
"They made him an offer, a seven-figure offer. JaCoby declined that. We knew then he was going to drop in the draft. We expected that. Right now, we're still planning for him to go to LSU and play college baseball...

...The Astros said they will send somebody here to talk to us in the near future, and we're going to listen. The negotiating could go all the way to the deadline...This is all a lot for us to take in. We just want what is best for JaCoby, and we don't want to sound greedy. I know we're talking about a lot of money, especially in today's economy and I know we are really fortunate."

The Hattiesburg American has more:
In talking to Jones and Rebel coach Brandon Davis last weekend at the High School All-Star Game, one got the distinct impression that Jones really wants to go to LSU, really wants a chance to play in Omaha at the CWS. And, at first glance, it would seem that he wouldn’t get the big bonus as a 19th-round pick that he would have if he’d been a higher pick.

But there are persistent reports floating about that the Astros are willing to at least consider a higher offer, that they could go as high as $2 million.

I wonder what the first round picks are thinking, reading this...

Meiners, on the other hand, probably will

40th Round pick Jeremiah Meiners probably will sign.

“I was in complete shock. One of my friends called me and I didn’t want to believe him. And the Astros called after to reaffirm it. It’s the best feeling I have ever had.”

SC Now:
Meiners said he will either begin his professional career with the Greenville Astros in Greenville, Tenn., or the Pittsfield Astros in Pittsfield, N.Y., and will report next week. “I’m ready to make the most of my opportunity,” Meiners said.

I'm not sure who these Pittsfield Astros are, but best wishes to him...

It doesn't sound as though Alexis Garza will sign

44th Round pick Alexis Garza will probably end up going to college:

“It depends on what (the Astros) offer me. I guess if I don’t like what they offer me, I’m going to go to college or vice versa. I kind of have to be smart about it, too. In a couple of years, if I go to college, I could be worth a lot more.”

HurtStros getting back on track

Bud Norris and Chris Sampson are starting to work their way back to the Big Club.

Norris, despite feeling discomfort, will go ahead with his planned rehab start Saturday in New Orleans, over my objections. Those jerks.

Chris Sampson is improving, and could go on a rehab assignment next week, as well.

Ian Vazquez isn't sure what he'll do

45th Round pick, and Wagner commit, Ian Vazquez doesn't know if he'll sign or not:

"The guy from the Astros is going to call me either tonight or tomorrow to talk about money. So I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet. I'm just waiting for their offer to see if I'm going to sign a contract or go to college."

Wagner coach Joe Litterio was one of the first to call Vazquez:
"He was like, 'Hey, how are you. Congratulations. What are you going to do?' Those were his first words. I told him, 'Coach, I'm planing to go to Wagner. I'm very excited about the opportunity. I don't know how much money I'm going to be offered yet (by the Astros). But he was very excited for me, too. So it was good. He asked me to send him a picture of me via e-mail because he was going to put it on the Wagner website...

..."I'm just hoping I get a great offer from Houston and I can sign and go play professional baseball. Definitely, I would love to do that. But I don't know how much they're going to give me. I have a great offer from Wagner and I would love playing for them. So, either way, I'm good. I just want to play baseball."

Maybe the Astros should let guys know they're about to be drafted

27th Round pick Jacke Healey saw his name on the screen before the phone rang:

"It was on the computer screen before anyone called me. I just saw my name had popped up there. I said to my mom, 'I just got picked up.' She jumped up and gave me a hug. Then, we called my dad. It was a great family moment."

Keith Law's Day 2 Analysis

Keith Law posted his analysis of Rounds 2-30. What did he say?

The Astros took a few of my favorite selections in Virginia Tech's Austin Wates, who has a first-round bat with questions about his position; right-hander Vincent Velasquez, who's 90-93 with a good changeup; and right-hander Adam Plutko, one of the best command right-handers in the draft with a solid to average fastball of his own. Velasquez (Cal State Fullerton) and Plutko (UCLA) were both seen as tough signs coming into the draft. Penn State catcher Ben Heath can hit but is unlikely to stay behind the plate. Nineteenth-rounder Jacoby Jones may be an impossible sign away from LSU but has a chance to be a first-rounder in 2013 if he shows he can hit better pitching.

From the Office of the County Clerk - G60: Astros @ Rockies

Carlos Lee. Carlos Lee...what's going on? 0x4 going into the 10th, and then a game-winning grand slam? Astros win 6-2.

*Carlos Lee's first four ABs: inning-ending fly out to center, fly out to center, fly out to center, line out to second, 411-foot homer to left.

*That was Carlos Lee's 15th grand slam of his career, and his 5th homer in extra innings. Of those five grand slams, two came in extra innings. It was the second grand slam of his career against the Rockies, and the second grand slam in extra innings that broke a tie. It was his first 4RBI game since August 31, 2009.

*Michael Bourn, Humberto Quintero, and Tommy Manzella all had two hits each. This was Manzella's 7th multi-hit game of the season, and the second time he's had back-to-back two-hit games. His .206 average is the highest it's been since May 30 (.210).

*Bourn stole his 20th base of the season, in his 58th game. He stole his 20th base in game 60 (June 13) in 2009.

*Bourn was also 2x2 w/RISP. In his previous 37 plate appearances w/RISP, he had gotten on base 13 times (seven hits/six walks).

*Berkman was only walked intentionally for the second time this season - May 28 was the first, to get to Pedro Feliz when Lee was batting 4th and Berkman was batting 5th. Feliz GIDPd to end the inning.

*Felipe Paulino threw 8IP, 8H/2ER, 7K:2BB. Both walks were intentional. It was his third straight 8IP performance, and his 3.82 ERA is the lowest it has been since May 4, 2009, when a blown save at Washington raised it to 3.60.

*Paulino's 17 swinging strikes are a season-high, and his 35 non-contact strikes are the most in five starts (39 against the Padres on May 8).

*Brandon Lyon got the win, because he pitched the 9th inning that carried over to Lee's grand slam 10th. The win, his 5th, means that he now is the team leader. Brett Myers has four.

*This win, combined with the Pirates loss, means that the Astros are out of last place in the NL Central for the first time since April 27, a span of 44 days.

Pitch Count Hero: Jeff Keppinger (0x5) - 21 pitches in five PAs
Pitch Count Punk: Pedro Feliz (1x5) - 10 pitches in five PAs

Man of the Match: Has to be Carlos Lee. Though Felipe Paulino would have been an acceptable answer.

Goat of the Game: Pedro Feliz. Ended three innings, only saw 10 pitches all night.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wagner's coach doesn't think too much of the Astros' selection

45th Round selection Ian Vazquez is committed to Wagner, and Wagner's coach dares you to think otherwise.

Saith Joe Litterio:
“It is a great honor to be drafted and it shows the type of player he is. I am happy for Ian and his family and excited for him to come to Wagner next year.”

How did the draft break down, you know, by position?

Because you can never get too much minutiae (I prefer Majotiae), let's see how this broke down.

PositionHigh SchoolCollege

Signing Bonus time

As is customarily the case with draft picks, the question on whether or not they'll sign is tied to the bonus the pick is expecting (see: Jones, JaCoby). Here we took a look at some of the signing bonuses by the 2009 draft class. What can the NewStros expect in the way of cash?

Well, first, we can see what has already been given out.

Texas' 1st Round (15th overall) pick, Jake Skole, got $1.557 million. The Rangers also signed their 22nd overall pick for a below-slot $1m. The Phillies signed their 1st pick (27th overall) for a $1.16m bonus.

Here's what the first ten Astros picks got in 2009:

Jiovanni Mier (21st overall): $1.358m
Tanner Bushue (69th): $530,000
Telvin Nash (100th): $330,300
Jonathan Meyer (111th): $274,500
B.J. Hyatt (131st): $200,000
Brandon Wikoff (161st): $154,000
Enrique Hernandez (191st): $150,000
Dallas Keuchel (221st): $150,000
Brandt Walker (251st): $150,000
Ben Orloff (281st): $25,000
Erik Castro (311th): $105,000

Not exactly scientific, but you can bet DeShields will be getting north of $2m, Foltynewicz around $1.5m, and Kvasnicka about $1m.

And if I can add one more thing about this JaCoby Jones situation. If we assume the rumors are true that the Astros offered him in the neighborhood of $1.5 million, that puts him at a mid-1st round signing bonus in the 19th Round. So...what's the problem? Boras?

And that'll do it

Okay, I've got chair sores. Thanks for tuning in for our second year of draft coverage. Once everyone gets signed, we'll host our 2nd Annual Astros County Adopt-a-Player contest, so turn in your early nominations now. The winner of the poll will receive a box of random crap and the opportunity to write a weekly guest post.

Oh, and if you were just drafted by the Astros, give us a shout at

With the 50th (and final) Round pick (1503rd overall

The Astros select 6'0" 190lb CF David Donald, out of JL Mann HS (SC).

Donald is a 2010 South Carolina Baseball Coaches Association All-Star, as J.L. Mann won its second straight state title.

With the 49th Round pick (1473rd overall)

The Astros select 5'9" 175lb C Kenny Diaz, out of Colegio Angel David HS (Puerto Rico).

With the 48th Round pick (1443rd pick)

The Astros select 5'11" 154lb RHP T.J. Pecoraro, out of Half Hollow Hills West HS (NY).

Pecoraro apparently throws 90-92, with a 78mph curve. (Here's his website).

The Long Island Pulse has this:
He’s spurted up in height and tacked on some muscle, and that’s only made Pecoraro all the more attractive to talent evaluators, never mind that he’ll graduate next month well before his 18th birthday. The righty’s fastball clocks in the low 90s and he has excellent off-speed material. According to Perfect Game USA, he’ll be off the board in the first 10 rounds and then must determine whether to sign with a major league club for a potentially hefty signing bonus, or to play for Vanderbilt.

With the 47th Round pick (1413th overall)

The Astros select 5'7" 180lb SS Joseph Carcone, out of New Hartford HS (NY).

He worked out for the Astros last week at Minute Maid. New Hartford coach Brian LaLonde:
“I know the scouts have been very impressed with him as a person, too. He’s a very honest, very humble kid, and he plays the game like he loves it. He plays the game with a passion.”

Carcone has signed with Le Moyne College in Syracuse. Le Moyne coach Steve Owens:
“Joe is one of the best all-around athletes in the CNY area on the baseball diamond as well as the football field. He possesses a strong arm and the ability to steal bases, the type of player that fits our profile of a lead-off hitter. Joe has proven to be a mentally tough individual in both sports he has played.”

With the 46th Round pick (1383rd overall)

The Astros select 6'0" 180lb LHP Lawrence Pardo, out of Christopher Columbus HS (FL).

Pardo has signed a letter of intent with Appalachian State, and "has indicated" that he will honor that commitment.

Weird note: Pardo's father, Larry, played for the Rangers, Angels, Yankees, and White Sox. He was a scout for the Brewers, and signed Ryan Braun.

With the 45th Round pick (1353rd overall)

The Astros select 5'11" 172lb SS Ian Vazquez, out of Perkiomen School (PA).

Perkiomen won their second straight TCL title in 2010.

With the 44th Round pick (1323rd overall)

The Astros select 6'2" 185lb LHP Alexis Garza, out of McAllen HS (TX).

MaxPreps had his offensive stats at .435/.519/.753, giving McAllen the 28th spot in the National rankings. Garza finished the season 11-0.

The Westlake Picayune described the McAllen team as such:
The Bulldogs live up to their lofty No. 2 ranking in the latest Texas High School baseball Coaches Association poll. McHi boasts a potent offense that is hitting .424 as a team and averages 9.8 runs a game. Outfielder Tim Ford (.494, 32 RBIs), shortstop Alvaro Moreno (.464, 27 RBIs) and outfielder Alexis Garza (.443, 32 RBIs, 14 extra-base hits) anchor that attack. Moreno and Garza also earn the bulk of the innings on the mound.

With the 43rd Round pick (1293rd overall)

The Astros select 5'10" 160lb righty shortstop DeMarcus Henderson, out of Wayne County HS (MS).
DeMarcus Henderson, a Mississippi State baseball signee, is an athlete, pure and simple. He was the starting quarterback for 5A South State Champion, Wayne County and has signed with the Diamond Dogs of Mississippi State. Thus far in 2010, Henderson is batting a torrent .585 with 8 HRs and 10 stolen bases. In his junior campaign he batted .455 with 10 home runs, 42 RBIs and swiped 16 bases.

Henderson has signed a letter of intent to play baseball with Mississippi State.

"Demarcus is a multi-talented athlete that makes everyone around him better on and off the field. He is a legitimate middle infield prospect with off-the-charts makeup and work ethic. He is extremely competitive with great leadership qualities and plays the game the way it is supposed to be played."

"Playing baseball for Mississippi State is a dream come true for me. I've always dreamed of playing baseball in college someday, and now I get that chance."

With the 42nd Round pick (1266th overall)

The Astros select 6'4" 215lb RHP Paul Gerrish, out of TCU.

Gerrish was 1-3 in 17 games (seven starts) for TCU in 2010. In 45.1IP, Gerrish allowed 60H/23ER, with 36K:15BB. He was the only TCU starter to beat Texas in 2009, and was converted to the bullpen this season.

With the 41st Round pick (1233rd overall)

The Astros select 6'0" 190lb RF Bryce Lane, out of Gulf Coast Community College (AL).

A First Team All-Conference selection as a freshman, Lane hit .352 with seven home runs and 47 RBI at the plate while going 5-2 on the mound. This season he is hitting .444 with 71 hits, 14 doubles, 21 home runs and 76 RBI, scoring 71 runs. He has also made five appearances on the mound, going 2-1 with a save and a 1.10 ERA in 16 1/3 innings.

He was described as such:
"Bryce is a pure hitter that also has a great deal of pop - he not only is one of the best hitters in the conference, but is also very good on the mound."

Lane has signed a National Letter of Intent to join Auburn in the fall.

With their 40th Round pick (1203rd overall)

The Astros select 6'0" 200lb LHP Jeremiah Meiners, out of Francis Marion University.

Meiners was 6-2 with a 5.37 ERA in 15 appearances (10 starts) for Francis Marion in 2010. In 52IP, he allowed 56H/31ER, 44K:26BB.

With the 39th Round pick (1173rd overall)

The Astros select 6'0" 195lb RHP Krishawn Holley, out of Mid-Carolina HS (SC).

In 2010, Holley threw 52IP, allowing 7ER for a 0.94 ERA. (Thru 5/27). And was named to the SC All-State baseball team. He was Mid-Carolina's Football Offensive Player of the Year, and Baseball Player of the Year, as well.

Holley has signed to play baseball at Newberry College.

With the 38th Round pick (1143rd overall)

The Astros select 6'3" 1B Ryan Ford, out of Plano West HS (TX).

Back in 2008, had this to say:
Plano West is awesome and super soph Ryan Ford has a Ben Grieve-like sweet swing that gets hotter as the days do.

Ford was also ESPN's Player of the Week for June 2008. And, as a sophomore, was considered a "high college prospect."

With the 37th Round pick (1113th overall)

The Astros select 6'3" 222lb RHP Brian Streilein, out of Villanova.

Streilein did well this year for Villanova, throwing 90IP, allowing 105H/42ER (4.20 ERA), but with 78K:29BB.

Back in March 2009, Streilein was named the Philadelphia Big Five Pitcher of the Week, which is all well and good. Because this year, Streilein was named Philadelphia Big Five Pitcher of the Year.

With the 36th Round pick (1083rd overall)

The Astros select 6'4" 215lb RHP Ryan Halstead, out of Los Osos HS (CA).

Halstead was named to the Inland Valley High School All-Star baseball at the end of May (but as a 1B).

MaxPreps lists his offensive stats as a .295/.385/.462 hitter at some unknown point during the season.

With the 35th Round pick (1053rd overall)

The Astros select 6'1" 210lb lefty 1B Esteban Gomez, out of Bishop Ford Central Catholic HS (NY).

Gomez was on the All-Brooklyn team as a Junior:
Simply put, the junior first baseman was one of the most feared power hitters in the CHSAA this season. He batted .276, but led the Falcons in triples (five), RBIs (18), walks (20), runs (25) and each of his team-leading three home runs were bombs, including a two-run walk-off against McClancy. He also hit a solo blast to center at McClancy and put a ball into the parking lot at Archbishop Molloy. So what’s Gomez’s secret? Does he just extend his big arms? “I actually swing hard, that’s the thing,” he said.

And the New York Post had a nice profile on Gomez back in March. Coach Mike Hanrahan:
“I haven’t seen anyone with that kind of power, especially with a wood bat. What he could do with an aluminum bat is just scary. He has natural power, he’s a strong kid. He knows what he’s doing at the plate, he knows how to go with the pitch, he’s not just pure power. He’s a pure hitter with power."

Gomez is headed to San Jacinto if he doesn't sign.

With the 34th Round pick (1023rd overall)

The Astros select 5'11" 205lb RHP Ryan Cole, out of St. Johns.

Cole was 3-1, with a 4.40 ERA in 28 relief appearance for St. Johns. In 28.2IP, Cole allowed 23H/14ER, with 26K:16BB and a .232 BAA in 2010.

With the 33rd Round pick (993rd overall)

The Astros select 6'4" 200lb RHP Michael Ness, out of Duke University.

Ness was drafted by the Giants in the 47th Round by the Giants in 2009, but - obviously - did not sign.

Ness was 1-3 in 16 appearances (eight starts) for Duke in 2010, with a 6.24 ERA. He threw 49IP, allowing 73H/34ER, with 28K:16BB.

With the 32nd Round pick (963rd overall)

The Astros select 6'2" RHP Will Chrismon, out of Menchville HS (VA).

Chrismon was a 2009 Pre-season 2nd Team All-American.

With the 31st Round pick (933rd overall)

The Astros select 6'1" 185lb LHP Travis Blankenship, out of the University of Kansas.

Blankenship was 1-5 with a 5.96 ERA in 34 appearances for the Jayhawks in 2010, allowing 55H/30ER in 45.1IP, with 51K:16BB, and a .331 BAA.

Travis Blankenship, a senior left-handed pitcher from Lawrence, Kan., who made a team-best 34 appearances out of the bullpen. Blankenship posted a 1-5 record with a 5.96 ERA in 45 1/3 innings on the hill. He recorded 16 walks and 51 strikeouts as a valuable reliever against left-handed hitters.

Christopher Wallace signs

Alyson Footer tells us that the Astros have signed 16th Round pick Christopher Wallace (I'm sorry. I bet it's "Chris," but I just can't do it. He may also be referred to as "Biggie.")


(Captip to Farmstros) on the following:

June 8:
JetHawks release CF Josh Flores
JetHawks assign David Duncan to Lancaster from Lexington

Flores, the Astros 2005 4th Round pick, was hitting .211/.304/.278 in 34 games (90ABs), with 23K:12BB. His best season came in 2005 when he split time between Greenville and Lexington, hitting .331/.380/.511 in 64 games and was a Baseball America Rookie League All-Star.

Duncan started 2009 in Lancaster and had a rough time of it, going 0-9 in 10 starts with an 8.51 ERA. In Tri-City and Lexington to close the season, he managed to lower his ERA to a more-respectable 5.73 by season's end. So to sum up, I bet Duncan is crapping his pants about going back to the Cal League.

What's next for JaCoby Jones

Yes, the C is capitalized. Zach Levine devoted some blog space to the 19th Round pick from Mississippi:

Jones doesn't sound like a player the Astros are going to want to break the bank for, but they figured in the 19th round, there wasn't anything good enough that they were missing not to take a chance in case something changed with his priorities, his family's financial situation, any eligibility concerns or anything else that could make a player more desperate to sign at a lower price.

Bobby Heck:
"If he changed his demands or his commitment to LSU, I thought it would be wise for us to have a chance to talk to him about it."

Meanwhile, the Hattiesburg American was the Man on the Street.

Jones' father, Bubba:
“It’s been crazy around here. We’ve been getting calls for several days. They’ve been calling around asking about signability. We’re just going to try to make the best decision for his future.”

The American's Stan Cunningham:
Jones’ father, however, said the family will negotiate with the Astros to see if the two sides can reach agreement. If not, as seems likely, then Jones will honor his long-standing letter of intent to play for LSU. Reportedly, the Astros were prepared to select Jones with the eighth pick of the draft on Monday, but only if they could reach an agreement on a signing bonus...Jones declined to say exactly how much they were asking for, but said it was, “way above seven figures.” The Astros countered with an offer that was a little over $1 million.

Bubba Jones:
“To sum up a long story, he threw out a big figure, and if they were prepared to meet it, then he would’ve been prepared to sign. But he’s got a full scholarship waiting at LSU, and that’s a pretty good option...It’s tough. You don’t want to sound greedy, but you’re talking about asking a kid to give up his chance at a college education and the whole college experience. We were advised to be prepared that he would drop in the draft because of that signability. It’s kind of a shame. Used to be they just drafted on talent; now it’s based on whether they can sign you. They’ll come this week to sign some papers, giving them exclusive rights to negotiate with JaCoby, then we’ll start wheeling and dealing."

$1m+ on a 19th Round pick, and he still might not sign? That may be why he fell to the 19th Round...

Foltynewicz was drafted just right...

The Herald-News recalls a conversation about 19th overall pick Mike Foltynewicz with former ML pitcher Steve Parris:

Parris told me the kind of pitcher he saw that day without a doubt would be a first-round draft pick. Even though some projections later in the spring had the 6-foot-4, 195-pound Foltynewicz perhaps going in the second round, Parris' prediction was proven correct.

He said you don't come across many kids that age, that size, who throw that hard (well into the 90s) and have command of multiple pitches. When you do, the pro scouts take notice.

Has he signed already?
The general feeling is, as a first-round pick, he will sign with the Houston Astros. In fact, there was a rumor circulating Tuesday afternoon that he may already have signed.

Kvasnicka will be developed as a third baseman

Even though 1st Round (Comp) pick Mike Kvasnicka can play just about any position, Bobby Heck said he'll get started started as a 3B:

“We think that’s where his better ceiling and profile lies. Obviously [the Astros] look different every year and I think his versatility and his ability to go to other positions will be helpful for him and helpful for us.”

Minnesota Daily:
Kvasnicka said he was surprised about the anticipated move to third, expecting that teams would want him to catch, but said he will “own that identity and make that my own as much as I can. To me, that's a great thing they did that because that means they have a plan for me.”

Tommy Shirley is just happy to be here

9th Round pick Tommy Shirley hasn't really thought about what happens next.

On signing:
"Right now I'm just so excited about the Astros and the chance to possibly play with them, I haven't really thought about it. I'm just enjoying the moment right now."

Shirley is a junior, and could return to Xavier for his senior season.

"I would love to pitch at PNC Park and it would be fun to play against the Pirates. I was always a Pirates fan growing up and that's probably going to be pretty neat to do that... in an Astros uniform, hopefully."

6th Round pick Adam Plutko will take his sweet time

The San Gabriel Valley Tribune interviewed 6th Round pick Adam Plutko about his intentions with the Astros.

What Plutko has to decide next is whether to sign with the Astros and begin a minor league assignment or start a career at UCLA in the fall after signing a letter of intent on a full baseball scholarship. Some publications projected Plutko to be a late first-round or supplemental draft pick, which generally comes with huge signing bonuses in hopes of luring players away from Division I scholarships. By going in the sixth round, signing bonuses are much smaller. That makes Plutko's decision to sign or go to college more difficult.

"I tried not to think about it (draft projections) that much. With my whole no-expectation mentality, it was easier to deal with. But when they call your name, it's exciting, it really is. Anytime you get drafted it's flattering and a big deal...

...(August 16) is the deadline to make a decision. I will have follow-up discussions with the Astros and see how that goes...Right now I'm all signed and set to go to (UCLA), but we will see what happens. You have to go through the process and discuss it with your family."

San Francisco Chronicle: J.R. who?

The San Francisco Chronicle's John Shea compared Strasburg's debut to Saint J.R.'s. And it wasn't favorable for James Rodney:

I attended J.R.'s game, and I don't recall the same type of buildup. I don't know if the Astros sold Richard jerseys long before he debuted, and I don't think Astros catcher Larry Howard threw out the first pitch of the game to keep it for posterity, as Nationals catcher Ivan Rodriguez did with Strasburg's first pitch. I also don't recall MLB Network being in the house.

Heck, the game wasn't even in Houston, so the Astros couldn't take advantage of the gate. It was the second game of a Sunday double-header at Candlestick Park, back on Sept. 5, 1971, and the 6-foot-8 right-hander struck out Willie Mays three times and Bobby Bonds twice as he jump-started a career in which he tormented National League hitters throughout the '70s...Yes, Richard was the bigger story, but nothing like Strasburg making the biggest-hyped debut in baseball history.

Troy Renck expects Roy in the NL East

Interesting mailbag with the Denver Post's Troy E. Renck, in which a Rockies fan - devastated over losing to the Astros (whose adjective has apparently officially become "Lowly") inquires about the Rockies' chances of trading for Cliff Lee or Roy.

Roy Oswalt is an unlikely trade target for a number of reasons. He's due roughly $28 million, and the Astros are going to want to win the trade to sell it to fans. I see Oswalt ending up in Atlanta or Washington. But that's nothing more than an educated guess at this point.

Bobby Doran: 4th Round is high enough

A Lubbock Avalanche-Journal article indicates Bobby Doran will likely sign with the Astros.

"It was stressful and nerve-wracking for about 20 minutes. I was told I would go anywhere from 82 (second round) to the Yankees to that pick right there (with the Astros). It happened to be the last one and I'm realizing my dream happening. I'm excited, and I get to stay in Texas so I'm pumped. My parents are ecstatic and this is truly a blessing. It all happened the way it was supposed to."

Doran said he'd hoped to be drafted in the second or third but that going in the fourth round would not be low enough to deter him from turning pro. He was drafted by Pittsburgh in the 36th round a year ago...

...He said the Astros project him as a starter, as he was with the Red Raiders, but that he might be doing some relief work at first once he signs a contract.

Ben Heath needs a lawyer

5th Round pick Ben Heath needs some legal advice. Might we suggest John Royal?

Heath had not hired an advisor for the draft, but expects to sign quickly, says the Centre Daily Times
Heath, 21, said the Astros were among the teams that followed him the most this spring. The organization, which sent area scout Everett Stull to multiple Penn State games, also selected Minnesota’s Mike Kvasnicka in the third round. Kvasnicka caught for the Golden Gophers, but the Astros selected him as a third baseman...

...Heath didn’t have an advisor as of Tuesday night, but he expects to sign a contract and join the Astros’ farm system soon.

“I will obviously get with a lawyer, sit down and look things over. I don’t foresee it taking very long. I want to play and hopefully we work something out.”

Inexplicable quote from Mills

Every now and then, when pressed for an answer, or a silly question, I will freeze up and say something utterly ridiculous. For instance, Brad Mills:

When asked why Bourn got the day off in Colorado's massive center field, and Michaels got the start, Mills responded:
“We're trying to get Jason some at-bats, and it's hard with our outfield. Any time you have a Gold Glove guy like Michael Bourn in center field, you want to keep him there and he wants to play. But there comes a time when you really need to get your bench players some time so they can give you something off the bench.”

Note: I follow him. But the phrasing...

The Yankees are watching Berkman closely

The New York Post has a report that the Yankees are interested in Berkman:

As for adding a bat, the Yankees have scouts following the Astros in the event that club holds a fire sale and wants to move first baseman Lance Berkman, who would be a DH for the Yankees.

There are obstacles to adding Berkman or any other high-priced bat such as the White Sox's Paul Konerko, because of the money owed. Berkman is making $14.5 million this year and Konerko $12 million. Berkman has a complete no-trade clause; Konerko a limited no-trade.

From the Office of the County Clerk - G59: Astros @ Rockies

You didn't think they'd win, did you? You thought when they gave up three runs in the 1st that that was pretty much it, right? Well, you were wrong, and the Astros win 4-3.

*The Astros are now 6-15 when trailing entering the 2nd inning. They have 14 come-from-behind wins.

*Brian Moehler gave up 3ER in the 1st inning, letting Rockies hitters go 4x6 in the 1st inning - the first four Rockies got on base. Over the next five innings, the Rockies were 5x17, 3BB, HBP.

*Moehler threw his first quality start of the season (three starts), and his first since September 19 @Milwaukee. He closed out 2009 with two starts: 6.2IP, 14H/14ER.

*Wilton Lopez threw his 11th scoreless outing, and the 7th perfect outing of his season. On May 7, his ERA was 6.48. It's now 3.74.

*Mills screwed with the lineup in Bourn's day off. Keppinger led off, followed by Manzella (Imagine that. Your guy with the highest OBP goes first.) Both responded with 2x4 days, bringing Tommy Manzella's average to .199.

*1-4 in the lineup went a combined 7x16 with three RBI, three runs scored. 5-8 went 2x16, with 1RBI.

*The Astros drew 0 walks for the 11th time this season. They only worked a three-ball count four times (but not until the 5th inning): Cash (single), Moehler (groundout), Manzella (groundout), and the pinch-hitting Bourn (single) - who later scored the tying run.

*Berkman didn't get a hit (Astros now 3-15 when Berkman doesn't get a hit), but he did steal his second base of the season in the 8th, setting up the go-ahead run on Carlos Lee's single.

*Carlos Lee was 3x4, and now has a 9-game hit streak, and hits in 11 of his last twelve games. Over the last seven days, Lee is hitting .385/.448/.808.

Man of the Match: Carlos Lee

Goat of the Game: Hunter Pence. 0x4. Ended the inning twice, including the 4th - in which he GIDPd with two on.

With the 30th Round pick (903rd overall)

The Astros select 6'2" lefty RF Kellen Kiilsgaard, a junior out of Stanford.

Kiilsgaard only played in 14 games, getting eight starts, and hit .167/.323/.292 in 24 ABs, with 4K:3BB.

With the 29th Round pick (873rd overall)

The Astros select 6'2" 190lb CF Broughan Jantz, out of Nevada Union HS (CA).

Jantz was the QB for Nevada Union's Division I championship team, posting over 2600 combined yards and 33 touchdowns.

With the 28th Round pick (843rd overall)

The Astros select Jason Chowning, 6'4" 185lb RHP Jason Chowning, out of the University of Oklahoma.

Chowning was 1-0 in 13 relief appearances for OU in 2010, posting a 2.11 ERA, and allowing 16H/5ER in 21.1IP, with 30K:10BB.

With the 27th Round pick (813th overall)

The Astros select Jacke Healey, 6'2" 180lb shortstop out of Youngstown State.

Healey hit .293/.376/.521, with 53K:15BB for Youngstown State in 2010.

Healey led the Penguins in homeruns (12), runs batted in (59), triples (2), runs scored (63) and base hits (83) in 2010. The former NJCAA All-America second-team selection as a member of the Potomac State Catamounts hit .356 this past season. Healey finished the year with a seven-game hit streak.

Coach Rick Pasquale:
"Jacke will do very well in professional baseball because he is a pro-style player. The Astros organization will be getting a polished infielder that loves playing the game."

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

With the 26th Round pick (783rd overall)

The Astros select 6'3" 215lb LHP Alex Sogard, out of North Carolina State.

Sogard - the 2nd Wolfpack pitcher taken by the Astros this draft - was 2-2 in 11 starts with a 5.26 ERA and a .320 BAA. In 49.2IP, he allowed 62H/29ER, 28K:22BB.

With the 25th Round pick (753rd overall)

The Astros select 6'2" 215lb RHP Rodney Quintero, out of Chipola Junior College.

Perfect Game:
Quintero was one of the more pleasant surprises from the tournament. I had seen his stats prior to game play and was happy to see that his stuff matched his early success.

He started the game throwing 88-89, but was up to 92 before the first inning was over. Once he had a chance to warm up, he was throwing more consistently in the 92-93 range.

His secondary stuff never seemed to come together for him. He eventually seemed to tire, as hitters knew to identify and wait for his fastball, including one that CSN left fielder Marvin Campbell blasted over the wall in left-centerfield in the bottom of the fourth inning. Quintero appeared to throw a slider that lacked bite thrown at 77-78, and while he did snap off a couple of good, low-70s curveballs, the pitch wasn’t thrown consistently well. At least not on this day.

Possibly his most impressive attribute was his fearless approach. He challenged hitters with his fastball, and stepped up twice to strike out Bryce Harper swinging on high heat, both times with the count full. He has a stocky strong frame, and frequently changed his arm angle from a high three-quarters slot to nearly side-arm to give hitters different looks. Once he is part of a professional organization I see his delivery settling in to the low-three-quarters area, and he may be better off in relief given the lack of a polished repertoire. And if he is given the chance to relieve, I could see him throwing harder in shorter stints, and his aggressive nature would serve him well in such a role.

Baseball America:
Cuban righthander Rodney Quintero also bumped 93 but is still a work in progress and could probably use some time with a D-I team before he's ready for pro ball, according to two evaluators.

With the 24th Round pick (723rd overall)

The Astros select 6'7" 220lb LHP Adam Champion, out of University of Arkansas-Little Rock.

Champion was 7-4 with a 3.11 ERA, and in 98.1IP, allowed 93H/34ER, 74K:33BB, with three complete games and two shutouts.

UALR coach Scott Norwood:
"He has worked hard to get where he is and I think he'll have a great career in professional baseball. He was a big part of getting this program back on track."

Champion totaled a season-high nine strikeouts on two occasions in 2010, the last of which came over 7.1 innings against Louisiana-Lafayette on April 16. He went the full 9.0 innings against South Alabama on March 12, limiting the Jaguars to six hits and three runs, while racking up seven strikeouts against one walk. Champion picked up his sixth win of the year by holding ULM to seven hits and one unearned run over 9.0 innings in a 3-1 win on May 14.

A four-year letterman at UALR, he ends his collegiate career with an 11-15 lifetime record and ranks fifth all-time in UALR history with 208.1 innings pitched. He also ranks fourth all-time in career starts (35) and shares sixth place with 163 career strikeouts.

With the 23rd Round pick (693rd pick)

The Astros select 6'1" 195lb lefty RF Adam Bailey, out of Nebraska.

Bailey hit .368/.431/.691 with 18HR, 69RBI, 43K:25BB in 223 ABs.

Bailey was the Big 12 Player of the Week for March 15-21, and was named to the First Team All-Big 12.

The Daily Nebraskan:
Nebraska’s biggest bopper by far, though, is Adam Bailey. The senior outfielder leads the Big 12 with 15 long balls and is tied for the conference lead with 45 RBIs.

“He’s just unreal,” Asche said. “He’s got some pop.”

Bailey’s approach at the plate this season has remained consistent: Hit the ball middle-away and good things will happen.

“He’s got amazingly quick hands, and his bat speed is off the charts,” Thompson said. “I think if he wanted to, he could probably hit more than he does, but he wouldn’t be the kind of complete hitter that he’s been this year.”

With the 22nd Round pick (663rd overall)

The Astros select 6'3" 220lb catcher Zach Dygert, out of Ball State.

Dygert hit .307/.450/.588 for Ball State in 2010, with 12HR/57RBI, 49K:8BB (and was hit 11 times. That's impressive when you get on base by beaning more than you walk.) He's the third catcher the Astros have drafted in 2010, and all three were at one time on the Johnny Bench Award watch list.

Dygert is a 2010 First Team All-MAC selection, with teammate and 1st rounder Kolbrin Vitek.

Dygert, a team captain, earns his third All-MAC honor of his career after notching Second Team All-MAC honors as a sophomore and First Team All-MAC accolades as a junior and senior. He becomes the first Cardinal since Bryan Bullington (2000-02) to be honored for three straight seasons with All-MAC honors.

Baseball America's Jim Callis:
“Guys liked Dygert more last year. They felt he went backwards as a prospect. He can still be a good organizational catcher, and there’s value in that.”

Ball State coach Greg Beals:
“I’m optimistic someone’s going to give him a chance. I just want Zach to get a chance to go out and play.”

With the 21st Round pick (633rd overall)

The Astros select 6'4" RHP Aaron Blair from Spring Valley HS (NV).

Blair hit .449/.514/.827 for Spring Valley in 2010, and will go to Marshall if he doesn't sign. He was named to the All-Southern Nevada team for this season.

With the 20th Round pick (603rd overall)

The Astros select 5'11" 210lb CF Daniel Adamson, out of Jacksonville State University (AL).

Adamson hit .349 (76x218) with 61K:32BB in 218ABs for Jacksonville State in 2010, leading the team in triples, and was second on the team in homers, third in hits, RBI, and stolen bases.

In May, Adamson hit four homers - and two grand slams - in a doubleheader at Morehead State.

Jacksonville State:
One of the top defensive players to ever play the outfield for the Gamecocks and does so much for the pitching staff with the balls that he can run down…a fourth-year player that is expected to start in center field every day…has pop in his bat and has improved each year at the plate.

Levine: Top three picks should sign quickly

Zach Levine has an article saying that DeShields, Foltynewicz, and Kvasnicka (I have to get a shortcut for those last two) ought to sign quickly.

DeShields indicated he wanted to get started immediately.

"I'm pretty confident that I'll sign with the Astros. Everything worked out how I wanted it to work out."

"I'd be hard-pressed to find a situation where I'd come back. I can't guarantee anything and there's a lot of work to be done. It's a lifelong dream come true."

That's the Bobby Heck M.O.: Take guys who will sign quickly, get them started on their career.

With the 19th Round pick (573rd overall)

The Astros select 6'3" 190lb shortstop Jacoby Jones, out of Richton HS (MS).

Jones hit .438 with eight homers, eleven doubles, and 40RBI in 2010. Draft Tracker:
The Mississippi prep product could have a special bat, with plus power. He has all the tools to stay at shortstop, with good hands and excellent range. Even if he outgrew short, it looks like he might have enough bat to handle a corner position.

The Astros will have to pay a pretty penny to pry him away from LSU, where he has committed to play baseball. Oh yeah. And he's advised by Scott Boras.
“I really want to go to LSU. I just like the atmosphere there and the chance to play in the SEC.”

Richton Coach Brandon Davis:
“I don’t think you can sum it up in words, really. You’ve got to see him play. He’s got this God-given ability, but his instincts for the game are unbelievable. I’m kind of staying out of the business side of it. They know where he’s rated, and it’s possible he’ll go in the first round. Right now, I’d say the Astros, Red Sox, Royals and the Pirates are the four teams that would be willing to pay to get him. It’ll be interesting to see where he ends up.”

The Clarion Ledger (which opens up with a conversation outside the death chamber. Not kidding.):
They once made a movie called The Natural. It could have been about Jones. He played on a T-ball team of 5- and 6-year-olds when he was 3. He started on his high school team as a 12-year-old. He hit .415 that spring, .575 last year as a junior. He just turned 18 last week, and it's not hard to imagine him adding 20 to 30 pounds of muscle to his lanky frame.

One Major League Baseball scout, speaking on the condition of anonymity, called Jones' upside "huge." There has been some concern about a slight labrum tear in Jones' right shoulder that kept him off the mound for most of this spring.

Jones, on his shoulder:
"Doesn't bother me at all."

With the 18th Round pick (543rd overall)

The Astros select 5'10" 160lb CF Joshua Magee, out of Hoover HS (AL).

Magee is a two-sport threat at baseball and football, and is committed to Southern Miss to play both. He was named the Birmingham News' 2009 Hoover/South (football) Player of the Year in 2009.

With the 17th Round pick (513th overall)

The Astros select 6'0" 205lb 3B Tyler Burnett, a junior out of Middle Tennessee State.

Burnett hit .351/.415/.584 in 57 games for MTSU this season, with 31 extra-base hits, 45 RBI, 30K:25BB in 245 ABs. He was a 2010 Preseason All-Sun Belt Conference pick, after hitting .344 in 2009.

The Murfreesboro Post:
Tyler Burnett has performed well in a number of different positions in the line-up this season beginning the year as the lead-off and then moving to the clean-up spot for a while. He has 12 games with three or more hits. In 13 games he has recorded multiple RBI. In the series finale with Troy he went 2 for 5 with a double, home run, and four RBI to help hand the Blue Raiders the series win. Burnett ranks in the top in the Sun Belt in four categories including batting average, slugging percentage and total bases.

Presumably MTSU's coach:
“Tyler has been a solid force for us offensively in all parts of the line-up. I have asked him to hit anywhere from the top to near the bottom and he has hit for power and average. He made the move from short stop to third base and at times has made big league plays. He shows a lot of potential to being an outstanding infielder the more he plays the position.”

With the 16th Round pick (483rd overall)

The Astros select 6'0" 205lb Christopher Wallace (Biggie!), a catcher out of the University of Houston.

Wallace joins Ben Heath - drafted earlier - on the Johnny Bench Award watch list.

He batted .291/.388/.486 for the Cougars in 2010, starting 50 games, striking out 57 times with 23 walks, and led the team by getting hit six times.

Back in April 2009, Wallace was hit by A&M pitcher (and 2010 1st round pick) Barret Loux in the Houston Baseball Classic at Minute Maid Park.

Five plates, 41 screws and four home runs later, Wallace has made the kind of made-for-TV comeback that has been nothing short of miraculous.

Reporting on the injury, Baseball America wrote:
Wallace is a good-looking player, and I heard one American League area scout say he likes Wallace as a prospect. Wallace has a sturdy catcher’s build and has done very sound work behind the plate. He also blasted two opposite-field home runs in Houston’s first game of the weekend against Baylor.

With the 15th Round pick (453rd overall)

The Astros select 6'1" 180lb RHP Jamaine Cotton out of Western Oklahoma State, and originally from the US Virgin Islands.

Cotton was taken in the 28th round by the Giants in 2009, but did not sign - which looks like a good move right now.

He was 11-0 in 2010 in 60.2IP, allowing 58H/22ER, 53K:15BB for Western Oklahoma State.

Rays scout Evan Brannon:
“I saw him at camp last January and he has a good arm. But it’s really hard to say exactly where and which round he will go.”

With the 14th Round pick (423rd overall)

The Astros select 6'2" 180lb CF Jordan Scott, out of Riverside HS (SC).

Scott picked for the 2010 South Carolina Select All-Star Team.

Riverside coach Mark Kish, on Scott:
“He's got all five tools and he's got the frame. He's almost 6-2 and about 185, 190 pounds. He can put 15 or 20 pounds on. He really worked hard in the offseason and in the spring.”

Wtih the 13th Round pick (393rd overall)

The Astros select 6'0" 188lb 2B Davis Duren, a junior out of Oklahoma State.

Duren hit .383/.429/.543 in 230 ABs for Oklahoma State in 2010, with 21K:15BB, 24 extra-base hits, and 55RBI (2nd on the team), and hit a grand slam in the bottom of the 8th inning to seal a 12-5 win over Rice last month.

The Oklahoman:
Duren, the Cowboys’ second baseman, occupies the traditional leadoff spot at No. 1 in the lineup. And he’s among the Big 12’s best, leading the league with 25 stolen bases and carrying a .419 on-base percentage.

With the 12th Round pick (363rd overall)

The Astros select 6'1" 176lb RHP Andrew Robinson, a senior from Georgia Tech. (Though drafted a "James Robinson," there's no such person listed on GT's roster.)

Robinson was 4-0 with eight saves for GT in 2010 with a 2.43 ERA, 25K:8BB and 9ER in 33.1IP.

Georgia Tech:
Talented right-handed pitcher that possesses a live fastball in addition to a good slider and changeup ... A key component to the Yellow Jacket bullpen over the last three seasons ... Georgia Tech's top returning long relief pitcher ... Will serve as the primary setup guy but could appear in Tech's starting rotation in 2010. Named to the 2009 ACC Honor Roll.

Here's a video of Robinson hitting 91-93 on a radar gun. With a ball. Not a car.

Catcher Cole Leonida:
"He's so even, so even-keeled. It's tough to tell. Is he bored? With that kind of blank stare. Is he really focused? But that's the thing. Nothing gets to him. He never gets rattled and never wavers from that even plane. He's got that kind of bulldog mentality. He knows what he needs to do to get the job done. He's the one we want out there."

"My whole thing is to be calm and not show that adrenaline."

With the 11th Round pick (333rd overall)

The Astros select 6'3" 205lb righty 3B Kyle Redinger from Cedar Crest HS (PA).

Redinger was a Section One 1st Team Infielder for the second consecutive year. And missed the Class A title game on June 3 as he was at Minute Maid for a workout with the Astros.

Here are some stats for Redinger: .436/.523/.527, and he also posted a 3.09 ERA.

With the 10th Round pick (303rd overall)

...The Astros select Evan Grills, 6'4" 185lb LHP out of Sinclair Secondary School in Canada.

According to, Grills was a member of the 2008 Junior National Team in Edmonton.

Under Armour:
Grills, a tall, thin LHP with great upside, is the top Canadian prospect in the 2010 class. His delivery is low effort and his arm action is clean resulting in a high 80s fastball, plus curveball and deceptive change. He is a poised and mature young pitcher who has future front of the rotation ability.

"I'm not the rah-rah leader, but I just try to lead by example. When I go out there I just work hard every day and show how intense it is and how much I care about winning and things like that. I can tell them that they don't have to be really nervous. I remember my first time when I pitched against Cuba, I thought they were just the greatest hitters I ever faced in my life. But in reality, if you just get ahead in the count and stay ahead, you're usually going to do pretty well."

MLB Bonus Baby's Andy Seiler had Grills in the 4th-7th round range.

Grills did encounter some biceps tendinitis in 2009, but is apparently back at 100%.

With the 9th Round pick (273rd overall)...

...The Astros select 6'5" 205lb LHP Thomas Shirley out of Xavier.

Shirley was 4-3 with a 4.03 ERA in 96IP for Xavier in 2010. Allowed 100H/43ER, 98K:35BB in 15 starts, and was named to the 2010 A10 Championship All-Tournament team.

With their 8th Round pick (243rd overall)

The Astros select 6'0" 220lb RHP Jake Buchanan from North Carolina State.

Buchanan was 8-5 for the Wolfpack, throwing 105IP, 112H/45ER, 95K:27BB, and a 3.85 ERA in 2010, with two complete games.

NC State coach Elliott Avent:
"Jake Buchanan is a tough, hard-nosed, competitive person. I've coached at N.C. State for 14 years. Jake Buchanan will go down as one of the toughest guys who has ever been here."

Assistant Coach Tom Holliday:
"But Jake can pitch for anybody in the country. If I had one word to describe Jake Buchanan, he's a pitcher. I wish I had 12 others, and some kids are on the way to that. He kind of sets the bar high for our pitching staff."

With their 7th Round pick (213th overall)

The Astros select Roberto Pena, a 6'0" 180lb catcher from Eloisa Pascual HS out of Puerto Rico.

Zach Levine notes that he's the son of former Astro backup infielder Bert Pena.

Perfect Game:
No Puerto Rican draft would be complete without a top-flight defensive catcher, and the most-obvious 2010 candidate is Roberto Pena, a converted shortstop with one of the strongest throwing arms of any prospect in the entire draft. Scouts say that Pena’s defensive ceiling is at least equal to the three Molina brothers, who have gone on to become big-league catchers, although it will take a while to develop his hitting skills.

Kvasnicka likely to sign

Unless the Astros low-ball him, the St. Paul Pioneer Press is reporting that Comp 1 pick Mike Kvasnicka is likely to sign:

University of Minnesota junior Michael Kvasnicka, the No. 33 overall pick in Monday's Major League First-Year Player Draft by the Houston Astros, can expect a signing bonus of about $1 million. Look for him to accept and begin his professional career this month in the minor leagues.

With their 6th Round pick (183rd overall)

The Astros select 6'3" 180lb RHP Adam Plutko of Glendora HS (CA).
In a strong year for high school arms, there are a few elite names at the very top followed by a fairly deep crop right below. Plutko probably fits in the latter group. He was getting extra buzz early in the spring with strong performances, showing a fastball up to 93-94 mph and an excellent changeup. His breaking stuff has been a bit inconsistent, and that might be what keeps him from joining that top group of prep arms.

Jason Churchill (Insider-only):
"For me, it's all about the high school kids," said one regional crosschecker, whose coverage includes California. "We had a feeling (Adam) Plutko might continue to convince everyone he was for real, and he's been better than advertised, and he's made a lot of progress at the same time."

Plutko, a right-handed pitcher from Glendora High School (California), has yielded but two earned runs on five hits in 23 innings this season, and owns a 40-7 K/BB ratio having punched out 52 percent of the batters he's faced.

"He's not your prototypical starting pitcher," the scout continued, "but he's got arm speed and strength and I like his arm action."

Plutko is 6-foot-1 and listed at 175 pounds, which might have pigeon-holed the kid into corner of late-round draft status, but the success of Tim Lincecum has changed everything. Now, scouts have to consider the slighter pitchers more than ever before.

"Roy Oswalt and Pedro Martinez aren't brute and barrel-chested, either."

Astros purchase contract of Lee Cruz

We interrupt this draft coverage to report the Astros have purchased the contract of the Yuma Scorpions' (indpendent Golden League) Lee Cruz.

Cruz, who leads the Golden Baseball League with an average of .433 was originally drafted by the Chicago White Sox organization and signed with Yuma a month ago. In just 17 games under field manager Darryl Brinkley the right handed hitting Cruz has hit three home runs, three triples and five doubles. He is also second in the GBL in RBI to teammate Timothy Rodriquez with 26.

Cruz will report to Lancaster.

With the 5th Round pick (153rd overall)

The Astros select Ben Heath, a 6'2" 220lb catcher out of Penn State.

Penn Live:
Now regarded as one of the top catchers in the nation — one American League scout said Heath could be drafted as high as the second round Tuesday — landing an All Big-Ten spot hasn’t been easy...

...the 21-year-old is being mentioned among the top college baseball players in the country, remnants of Penn State (22-30) season that saw the North Mecklenburg HS alum hit .369 with 57 RBIs and a Nittany Lions-record 19 home runs. That total shattered a 32-year record set by Dave Simononis...

...Recently, Heath was named to the Louisville Slugger All-American Second team, the first Penn State all-american since Wes Roehr in 2002.

In addition, only two NCAA players — Heath and University of Miami catcher Yasmani Grandal — have been named an All-American, Dick Howser Trophy semifinalist and Johnny Bench Award semifinalist. listed Heath #3 on the 2010 Catcher Power Rankings.

With the 4th Round pick (123rd overall)

The Astros select Robert Doran, a 6'6" 225lb RHP Jr. out of Texas Tech.

Zach Levine:
Doran was chosen last year in the 36th round by the Pirates but did not sign. The 6-6, 240-pounder made 13 starts and three relief appearances for the Red Raiders this year, compiling a 4.35 ERA with 81 strikeouts and 23 walks in 89 innings.

Texas Tech:
Played two seasons for the Saints under Galen McSpadden and Mike Davidson ... was the team's top pitcher in 2009 as he compiled a 10-3 overall record and a 2.58 ERA ... over the course of 92 1/3 innings pitched he struck out 81 batters and issued just 24 walks ... went 4-0 with two saves his freshman season in 2008 while logging 46 1/3 innings pitched.

With the 3rd Round pick (90th overall)...

...The Astros select Austin Wates, Junior RHB OF from Virginia Tech.

Richmond Times-Dispatch:
He is ranked as the 24th-best prospect for the Major League Baseball draft by's Keith Law and will be selected in the first few rounds of the draft, which runs from Monday through Wednesday. Hughes expects him to skip his senior season and turn pro.

"Every time I go to the field and look at that kid, it gets me bummed out because I'm on a short watch with the kid now," Hughes said.

Hughes loves Wates' quick hands and speed but also admires his curious and cerebral approach. He often picks Hughes' brain during games about bunting or stealing situations. "It's not normal policy for a player to be talking strategy with the coach during the game and asking why," Hughes said.

Yet Wates seems sharper than the typical baseball player.

Baseball Rumor Mill:
Wates was among the league leaders in hitting all season in the Cape Cod League for Yarmouth-Dennis. Wates’ main problem is he doesn’t have a true position, as Y-D has moved him to the outfield after being unimpressed by him as an infielder. Wates seems to hit the ball hard whenever he’s at bat. An all-around athlete who his coach, Coach Hughes, has called "the most athletic kid I've ever recruited" ... Is working to be a more consistent defender in the infield, but proved to be an outstanding offensive player in high school.

Baseball America:
3rd round fits, slightly unconventional stroke, modest performance in ACC; speed, bat best tools.

Keith Law (had him 24th in his prospect list):
Can hit and run and play left field; he'll only go in the first round to a team that thinks he can play center.
Wates is a rare breed: a toolsy college hitter. The Virginia Tech standout's best tool is his speed and he should be a base-stealing threat at the next level. He can swing the bat, too, and projects to hit for more than enough average. What he's not going to do is hit for a ton of power. That, and his lack of a true position -- he's playing first and left field this season -- are the only real knocks against him. He has the skills to play left full-time and could be a future table-setter.

With their 2nd Round pick (58th overall), the Astros select...

...Vincent Velasquez, 6'3" 185lb RHP out of Garey HS (CA).

Baseball Beginnings:
The first thing you would notice about Velasquez is his body. He’s tall and athletic, rangy, with plenty of physical projection. His best tools, for me, are his arm and his glove. Velasquez can flat out throw the baseball. It’s hard to find a big arm on a position player – trust me, I’ve looked...

...The bat is the question. With a frame like this, there should be power there. Put power with arm and defense and you got yourself a third base prospect. From what I have seen, Velasquez needs to hit if he wants to hit later in his career and not go to the mound. I’m not ruling it out, but he’ll need to develop as a college hitter to give himself the best shot to play in the big leagues, if he goes that route out of high school. I can see him as college shortstop very easily, a career path that might make him more desirable to a team coming out of college than in high school. This guy is pure projection.

Alyson Footer:
Once the Red Sox picked right before them, there was definitely elation in the room when they saw Velasquez was going to be available.

Baseball Rumor Mill:
Velasquez is a jack-of-all-trades, as he's a switch-hitter in addition to playing short-stop, pitcher and catcher. As a hitter he has a better left- than right-handed swing. He displays a good changeup, 80-83 mph with good arm speed and some late tailing action. He's touched 93 on his fastballs and is trying to develop a curveball. As a hitter, his left-handed swing is quieter, with better bat speed and more consistency, while his hands are very busy right-handed. He's an average or slightly better runner. He's listed at 6'3", 175, and he's all arms and legs now, so you can really dream on the body.

(Only in baseball can guys get away with saying that about other guys).

MLB Draft Tracker:
In the past, Velasquez had largely been a position player, partially because of an injury, and partially because that's how he viewed himself. He may be forced to change his view because there's no doubt scots see him on the mound after he was throwing a live fastball, a good curve, and a plus change.

Reaction to the Astros' Day 1

FanHouse's Frankie Piliere posted his observations on the entire Day 1 process. So what did he say about the Astros (because we're kind of sensitive)?

Everyone likes to look for teams who played it safe on Day 1. You could accuse the Astros of that, but it's too early to jump all over them. Delino DeShields Jr., Mike Foltynewicz and Michael Kvasnicka are all quality prospects, but Houston clearly was not looking to make a splash or spend big money. The best prospect of the three may end up being Kvasnicka, however, and he was a compensation-round pick.

And some other reaction. Like, on DeShields:
You wonder where Houston is going. There were a number of high ceiling players here that could offer more. The allure of his dynamic ability is appealing but many scouts believed DeShields would be around for later picking, especially when they hold the number 19 pick.

And again, on Kvasnicka:
After ragging on the Astros early, the selection of Mike Kvacnicka was solid. He has a chance to be a offensive catcher, if they commit to keeping him there.

John Sickels:
Houston - Tentative Up
DeShields has great tools, Foltynewicz has a fresh Midwest arm with huge upside, and Kvasnicka has a promising bat but an uncertain position.

The DeShieldses respond!

McTaggart has an article getting some reaction about the #8 overall pick last night.

Bobby Heck:
"We were very happy. The play in front of [DeShields Jr.] was limited. We knew he wasn't getting to 19. But it wasn't a strategic thing. His talented warranted a selection at No. 8, and we were happy to select him there...

...He's a top-of-the-scale runner with a very good feel to steal bases and potential to be a leadoff hitter at the Major League level. He's going to play as a center fielder and transition to second base, and I think with Eric Young on this staff as well as his dad, who played second base in the big leagues, we feel very comfortable he has a chance to be a stronger profile as a second baseman."

DeShields, Jr:
"Me, personally, I want to make it in less than two years. I'm just grateful if I make it in four or five years. I'm just happy for the opportunity and want to see where it takes me."

DeShields, Sr.:
"I think it's a good fit for him. I'm really happy. I'm a proud dad today. It's been a lot of hard work, a lot of sacrifice. But I think it's going to be good for him to be an Astro."