Saturday, August 7, 2010
“If the Rangers realign and go to Round Rock, that would open up Oklahoma City, and that certainly meets all the criteria."
“That’s not out of the question. You see guys make those steps all the time, get a couple of starts at Triple-A and then move up to the next level. If he is as good as advertised, that wouldn’t be surprising at all.”
What struck Andy Pettitte hardest when he left the Yankees for the Astros after the 2003 season was not separation anxiety from the only organization he had ever known or the elation of playing in his home city.
No, what smacked Pettitte was the difference in intensity. Where was the pitch-to-pitch, inning-to-inning passion that had been so part of Yankees life? Where were the second-by-second critiques from the fans and media? Where was the unrelenting expectations to thrive?
Even after three years as an Astro, he never could reconcile the absence of that fervor. Now Lance Berkman is experiencing the same scenario, only in reverse. A Texan who schooled at Rice and had played exclusively for the Astros, Berkman not only has to adapt to New York, but figure out how to raise his game from the dredges of the majors’ worst division to the top of the best.
Makes you love the Yankees and New York media even more, no?
Subber has a far more extensive background in bodybuilding than any of us do, so his post should be taken seriously. It's a long post, and worth the read, and it steers away from our "They got popped for sullied Benadryl" post from yesterday, but here's the concluding paragraph:
In conclusion, were the players wrong for their usage of Jack3d and did they adequately do their research to help prevent this? Probably not to their fullest capabilities, but probably enough in their mind. Is the MLB adequately doing their part in educating and helping these young athletes? Not at all! There is so much more that they could do to help preven this. Do I still issue my free pass to Danny Meszaros? You bet I do because if he was using Jack3d, he's no better than I am because I've been planning on buying it as my next pre-workout supplement when I run out of my current one!
Fresno out-hit the Express 6-5, but Round Rock still won 3-0. Andy Van Hekken threw 7.1IP, 3H/0ER, 3K:3BB in a solid start, and Mark Melancon recorded his first save for the Express with 1.2IP, 3H/0ER, 2K:0BB. Andy Van Hekken got 16 GB/2 FB on the night. Collin DeLome was 2x4 with a 2-run homer, and Brian Bogusevic (1x2, 2BB) provided the other run with his 12th homer of the year.
Man of the Match: Andy Van Hekken
Big controversy in Midland last night. Doug Arguello only threw 1IP, with no explanation given as to why he didn't come out for the 2nd, and a "close" check-swing call went to Midland, scoring the winning run on a walk-off walk. Midland wins 4-3. After Arguello departed, Edwin Walker allowed 5H/3ER, 2K:2BB in 3IP. Bubbie Buzachero DOMINATED with four perfect innings before Jeilen Peguero allowed 3H/1ER, 1K:3BB in 1.1IP for the loss. J.D. Martinez went 3x4 with a double, homer, walk, and 2RBI. David Cook was 3x5 with a solo homer. Koby Clemens was 0x5, and he's 0x13 since returning from the DL.
Man of the Match: I know J.D. Martinez had a hot game, but this goes to Bubbie Buzachero, with four perfect innings.
The JetHawks doubled up Lake Elsinore with a 10-5 win as the JetHawks win their fifth straight game. Leandro Cespedes threw 3.1IP, 5H/4R (3ER), 1K:2BB, 2WP. Shane Wolf got the win with 3.2IP, 2H/1ER, 3K:0BB and Jose Trinidad allowed 3H/0ER in 2IP. John Curtis was 4x5 wutg 2RBI, and Jonathan Villar, Brian Pellegrini, Andy Simunic, David Flores, and Jose Altuve had two hits each. Jay Austin got a hit and a walk, and stole his 49th base of the year.
Man of the Match: John Curtis
Lexington never trailed in this game, and got two 8th inning insurance runs in a 9-6 win over Delmarva. Juan Minaya allowed 5H/5R (2ER), 4K:5BB, Brenden Stines got the win with 2H/1ER, 4K:1BB in 3IP. Wander Alvino and Kirk Clark (24th save) combined for 2.1IP, 2H/0ER. Jake Goebbert was 3x4 with a 2-run homer, Miguel Arrendell (2x4, 2RBI), and Rene Garcia (2x4) had multi-hit games. Jimmy Paredes hit a two-run homer. Grant Hogue was 1x4 with a walk, two runs scored, a stolen base, and an outfield assist.
Man of the Match: Jake Goebbert.
Tri-City jumped out to a 3-0 lead after the first inning and went on to defeat Mahoning Valley 6-2. Bobby Doran threw 5IP, 7H/2ER, 1K:0BB. Joan Belliard, Adam Champion, and Jorge De Leon combined four 4IP, 3H/0ER, 4K:2BB. Ben Orloff, Enrique Hernandez, and Ben Heath had two hits each, while Mike Kvasnicka was 1x4 with a double and 3RBI.
Man of the Match: Mike Kvasnicka
Double-header, thanks to the postponed game Thursday night, with Princeton:
Game 1: Mike Foltynewicz got roughed up in a 13-3 loss, allowing 7H/8ER, 2K:2BB in 2.1IP. Jamaine Cotton allowed 5H/4ER, 1K:2BB in 1IP. Phil Rorabaugh gave up 4H/1ER in 1.2IP and Justin Harper threw a perfect inning. Jhonny Medrano hit a 2-run homer in the 6th. Bryce Lane had the other RBI.
Man of the Match: Jhonny Medrano
Game 2: And Greeneville didn't let it affect them, posting a 4-1 win in Game 2. Gabe Garcia allowed 3H/1ER, 3K:2BB and Jeiler Castillo got the win with 4H/0ER, 3K:1BB in 2.1IP. Garrett Bullock posted his first save with 1H/0ER, 3K:0BB in 2.2IP. Medrano hit his 2nd HR of the day, going 2x3. Rafael Valenzuela was 2x4 with a 2-run HR, and Marcus Nidiffer hit his 9th homer of the season. Ryan Humphrey was 2x3.
Man of the Match: Rafael Valenzuela
*The loss marks the third time the Astros have entered the 9th inning with the lead, and still lost the game (40-3).
*Wandy pitched a gem, throwing 6.1IP, 8H/2R (1ER), 7K:0BB, WP. He threw 70 of his 107 pitches for strikes.
*Wandy, in his first 14 starts of 2010: 75.1IP, 95H/59ER, 52K:34BB. 6.09 ERA/1.71 WHIP. .359 BABIP, 60% of his pitches for strikes.
*Wandy, in his last eight starts: 53.1IP, 41H/11ER, 50K:10BB. 1.86 ERA/0.96 WHUP. .262 BABIP, 66% of his pitches for strikes.
*Matt Lindstrom will be your obvious choice for the Goat, after he allowed 3H/4ER, 0K:2BB in 0.1IP, and getting the blown save and the loss. The four runs are obviously the most he has allowed this season. Lindstrom has allowed runs in eight of those appearances, and has five blown saves on the season.
*The curious decision here - although this is a really easy criticism the next morning - was to bring in Lindstrom to begin with. Brandon Lyon had just thrown 16 pitches in the 8th, and was facing the 7-8-9 spots in the lineup for the 9th. Still, Lindstrom hadn't thrown since August 2, so he should have been good and rested. I'm not going to criticize bringing in your closer, but it should still be highlighted.
*The Astros' offense did fine, as long as runners weren't on 2nd or 3rd. A 3x15 night w/RISP is hard to overcome. Castro was 0x3, Wallace was 0x2, and Pence, Lee, and Johnson had your only hits w/RISP.
*Geoff Blum had a good night in his first ML start since coming off the DL, going 3x5 with two runs scored. Wallace was 1x4 with a walk and an RBI, and Chris Johnson was 2x5 with an RBI.
*Chris Johnson had his eighth multi-hit game in his last 13 games. And since getting called up in June, Johnson is hitting .373/.404/.595 with 17 extra-base hits. In his 35 games since the call-up, the Astros are 19-16.
*Carlos Lee was 2x5, for his third multi-hit game in his last four. Since July 23, Lee is hitting .306/.370/.469 with a .302 BABIP.
*Pitch Count Hero: Jeff Keppinger (1x3, 2BB) - 25 pitches in five PAs.
*Pitch Count Punk: Geoff Blum (3x5) - 14 pitches in five PAs.
*Man of the Match: Wandy Rodriguez
*Goat of the Game: Matt Lindstrom
Friday, August 6, 2010
“I am in an organization where you can move up anytime. I just have to keep working. I'm feeling good. I'm keeping the ball down. I'm staying on top of the ball and that is the biggest thing for me. I still have a long way to go, but I have come a lot farther than where I was before.”
Anyhow, Brad Mills saw 16 of 38 fans approve of him, though the poll was taken between June 19 and June 21. This is ridiculous. So what say you, actual fans?
“I’m interested in baseball under the right economic conditions. The opportunities (to purchase a team) come up so seldom that you have to weigh each opportunity as it is presented, and right now I don’t think there is an opportunity unless something changes...
...“We’re not pursuing the Astros at this point. ... What happened with Drayton (in 2008) didn’t go off well. I certainly respect Drayton and wish him the best. He’s a great guy and sometimes deals just don’t work. I think for a while that might have been held against us, but we tried to conduct ourselves in a professional manner and respect the rules, and that is how we will continue to do things.”
Hey, but what about Mark Cuban?
Cuban, asked if he were interested in pursuing the Astros, said in an e-mail message, “No interest in pursuing the Astros. I hope if the opportunity arises that Jim Crane does pursue it. Having gotten to know Jim, he would be great for the Astros and the fans would love him.”
McLane said the sale of the Astros “is not something that we are pursuing. Teams that want to sell make a public announcement and then they have some sort of bid process, and that is not something we are contemplating at all.”
“There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t get stopped and asked this. We’ve been through it before, but from what I’ve heard it’s a pretty quick process. We’ve said that if there was a situation where my dad was going to be in Arlington for a long time and we think that it benefits our fans, employees and investors, then it’s something that we would consider.”
Meanwhile, the Austin American-Statesman can barely hide its boner over the possibility of being part of Texas' system:
For the Express, signing a player-development contract with the Rangers would likely pay immediate dividends on the field. The Astros’ minor league system has languished for several years, and Round Rock has compiled a 188-242 record since 2007. The Express are 45-68 this season. Meanwhile, the Rangers have fashioned one of the most robust farm systems in baseball.
Even after making five trades since May 31, the Rangers still boast plenty of blue-chip talent. All-Stars Elvis Andrus and Neftali Feliz graduated from the Rangers’ farm system last year. Pitchers Tanner Scheppers (Triple-A Oklahoma City) and Martin Perez (Double-A Frisco) and outfielder Engel Beltre (Frisco) are considered premier prospects .
In David Barron's article, we hear from Don Sanders - longtime associate of Ryan, and co-owner of the Express and Hooks, about the potential switch:
"It probably makes a lot of sense, and it is something we are going to take a very serious look at."
No changes are impending for the Corpus team.
The infallible Wikipedia basically says that Methylhexanamine is a nasal decongestant, though it can be used as a general stimulant.
Back in 2009, five Jamaican athletes were suspended for testing positive for Methylhexanamine, but only because the anti-doping panel couldn't figure out if it was actually prohibited, so they suspended them anyway, because it was close enough to another banned substance.
This bodybuilding forum says that methylhexaneamine has properties similar to amphetamines and ephedrine.
So, to sum up: There's a pretty good chance that Meszaros, Fixler, and Cabral were busted for a nasal decongestant.
If I'm wrong - and it's entirely possible - leave a comment.
"I'm able to start if they need me to start. I think that in the short amount of time that I have been here, I have shown my versatility."
Figueroa started ten games for the Mets in 2009, with moderate success - a 4.19 ERA/1.40 WHIP, though posting a 2-8 record. Opponents hit .273/.341/.441 against him in his starts, and he struck out 47, walked 19 in 58IP.
It's an option, I suppose, if the Astros are trying to limit Wesley Wright's innings in the last couple of months of the season. Since Moehler is out, it seems like the options are Figueroa and Josh Banks.
Fresno rolled all over Round Rock, roughing up Josh Banks in an 8-1 win. Banks threw 5IP, 9H/7R (5ER), 3K:1BB, WP to drop his record to 8-8. Chris Sampson, Roy Corcoran, and Jonah Bayliss held Fresno scoreless over three innings, and Fernando Abad allowed the final run of the game. Matt Kata was 2x3 with the lone RBI, while Brian Bogusevic and Chris Shelton were both 1x4 with a double, Collin DeLome provided your other hit.
Man of the Match: Matt Kata, despite him being the one committing the error leading to two unearned runs.
San Antonio put up a run over four separate innings, defeating Corpus 4-1. Jordan Lyles threw 5IP, 7H/2ER, 3K:1BB, and needed 90 pitches to do it. Matt Nevarez gave up a hit and two walks, while Erick Abreu (2IP) and Arcenio Leon (1IP) each allowed two hits, a walk, and a run. No extra-base hits, as the Hooks were held to five hits and no walks, but Cartwright, rehabbing Manzella, J.D. Martinez, David Cook, and Michael Affronti (RBI) got on base.
Man of the Match: Jordan Lyles
High drama at Inland Empire last night, as the JetHawks came back from 4-2 down in the 8th to tie the game on John Curtis' 2-run single. In the 12th, Mark Ori doubled, and John Curtis provided another RBI to give the JetHawks a 5-4 win. Pat Urckfitz threw 6IP, 7H/4R (1ER), 6K:2BB with Ashton Mowdy, Kyle Godfrey, and David Berner locking it down. Godfrey struck out six in 3IP. The bottom of the 7th was an interesting one for Inland Empire, as the three outs came by way of: hit by batted ball, caught stealing, caught stealing. John Curtis was 4x6 with 3RBI, with Jonathan Villar and Brandon Barnes providing the other two RBI. Jay Austin stole his 48th base of the year, Barnes walked three times, and Andy Simunic struck out four times, and walked twice.
Man of the Match: John Curtis
The Legends held Hagerstown to one run through five, but that quickly turned into eight runs, and the Legends lost 8-3. Tanner Bushue threw 6.2IP, 5H/6ER, 4K:2BB, 2HR, and Dan Sarisky gave up 3H/2ER in 1.1IP. Twelve of Bushue's 16 in play outs were flyballs. Jake Goebbert was 2x4 with 2RBI, while Kody Hinze provided your other RBI. Our Boy Aaron Bray was 0x3 with a walk.
Man of the Match: Jake Goebbert.
Rough one for the ValleyCats as Mahoning Valley comes up with a walkoff sac fly in the bottom of the 9th for a 3-2 loss. The winning run got to third on a single, wild pitch, single. Carlos Quevedo threw 7.2IP, 4H/2ER, 1K:0BB, Travis Blankenship walked a batter and got an out, while Brandt Walker was charged with the loss. Wilton Infante was 2x3 with an RBI, and Tyler Burnett (2B, BB) and Mike Kvasnicka had the only other two hits.
Man of the Match: Carlos Quevedo
Zach Levine's blog:
Lyles pitched five highly taxing innings, giving up two earned runs on seven hits with one walk and three strikeouts, working with a strike zone that was generous for both starting pitchers.
So does this mean that he's in line to come up in September? Levine asked Ed Wade:
"There's always a chance. In a perfect world, we don't have any more need for starting pitching at the big league level. I'd just like to see him go out every fifth day whether it's here or AAA or the big leagues, and just take the same approach."
So, uh. Isn't this something? Coming into last night's game, Lyles has appeared in 61 games, with a 3.35 ERA/1.24 WHIP, averaging 9.7 K/9 innings. This number has decreased from 2009's K/9 in Lexington, when it was 10.4 to 8.3 - but we're talking about a 2.1 K/9 drop after skipping a level, so it's not all that concerning. It's even less concerning when you consider that the Texas League K/9 average is 7.1. Lyles' K:BB ratio this season is 3.29, more than double the Texas League's 1.99 average.
Another thing to take note of is that Lyles is about 17 innings away from matching his 2009 total. Of course, that doesn't tell us the whole story. In 2009, Lyles faced 601 batters, getting 434 of them out. That's 1.38 batters faced per out. In 2010, that ratio is about 1.54. So at the point that he throws the same number of innings as 2009, at this rate we can safely project that he'll face about 84 more batters. And now he's jumping a level. Which is great, right? Should we see him in on the mound in Houston?
How about...no. Let him make his starts for Round Rock, get him to 160 innings, call him up to Houston, let him get flown around the country and experience the Big League Life, spend hours talking to Brad Arnsberg, and sit him right down on the bench until the end of the season.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
So, according to Richard Justice:
Nolan Ryan told Drayton McLane wks ago the Rangers would be moving their AAA team to Round Rock if he got the team. Hello, Ok City?
While attending one of the Round Rock/Nashville games last weekend, I heard a rumor that, since the Brewers' contract expires with the Sounds at the end of this season, the Astros could move their Triple-A team to Nashville. This would be unbelievable on a number of levels, but it really does make sense. Southwest runs direct flights from Nashville to Hobby four times a day, and it's only a two-hour flight.
Still, it's not looking good for the Astros' affiliation with Round Rock.
An excerpt from a letter from Nationals President Stan Kasten to Osceola County Manager Don Fisher:
It was nice speaking to you last Thursday and it was very interesting hearing about the potential for a new spring training complex in Osceola County.
I would certainly be interested in meeting with you and hearing more about your plans in greater detail, as we consider our own future spring training plans. In the event Osceola County is interested in moving forward, please let me know.
We've also heard that stories of Berkman's invoking his no-trade clause to turn down a deal to the White Sox weren't quite correct. He informed the Astros early on he wouldn't go to the White Sox but it doesn't appear he ever quashed a specific trade.
The Twins, Reds, Mets, Dodgers and even the Blue Jays tried to swoop in and deal for Wandy Rodriguez on Saturday. But the Astros never seriously entertained trading him.
We also get to hear from Stark's scouts. On Wallace:
"I don't get it. He's always in demand. People always want him. But as soon as they get him, they're willing to move him out the door. So what am I missing? … If I was going to hang my hat on a [young hitter] to say, 'This guy will hit in the big leagues,' he'd be right at the top of the list."
"For me, he's at least a No. 3 starter -- at least. The people who say he's just a fifth starter are people who saw him when he first came up and don't actually watch him. He's better than that. This guy is smart. He has a great feel. And guys swing through his fastball."
Rookie Jason Castro isn't going to threaten for the N.L. batting title, but after a sit-down with Bagwell earlier this season, Astros assistant GM Ricky Bennett says the 23-year-old catcher improved his average by "about 70 points in a matter of 2 1/2 weeks" in the minors and reached the majors a month later.
The 42-year-old former slugger has brought an old-school approach to the job. He is not big on video and he doesn't believe that 100 swings in the batting cage are more beneficial than "10 or 15 good ones." Today's hitters, he says, "find ways to put themselves in slumps."
"We’re very excited that the negotiation process is now in the rear-view mirror and we are able to add this gifted baseball player to the Houston Astros organization. It will be fun watching Delino put his talent to work and begin his journey back here to Minute Maid Park."
"Delino fits perfectly into what we’re trying to do at the developmental level. He is strong, athletic and dynamic. He’s got great bloodlines and is focused on being a successful big leaguer."
The eighth overall selection was the highest for the Astros since the 1992 draft when the club selected IF Phil Nevin.
Note: the KHOU line is notable if only because it is the first time in 18 years that the Astros' 1992 draft has not been referred to as, "when the club didn't select Derek Jeter."
UPDATE: Brian McTaggart says the signing bonus was for $2.15m.
Hard to believe anyone's watching the Astros now that football has started in Texas, but some scouts worry that pitcher Brett Myers is relying too much on his breaking pitches this year.
(Note: This is something we noted in the reaction post).
"We have no concern. He still possesses a solid four-seamer and his two-seamer is effective. From a health standpoint, we preconditioned his extension on MRIs of his shoulder, elbow and hip, and all are clean. He's a 29-year-old horse."
Unfortunately, the average lifespan of a horse is 20-30 years. Get a different analogy, Ed.
The Astros have become much more liberal with their thinking when it comes to challenging the really special talent, and while they don't want to place too many early expectations on Lyles, it's clear he's the pitching prospect with the brightest future. After spending the 2009 season with Low-A Lexington, Lyles skipped High-A Lancaster and went straight to Corpus to begin '10, and there's a chance that's not his final stop this year, despite there less than a month remaining in the Minor League season.
Roza chimes in with a long column on how the philosophy of the club has changed right before our very eyes - and in about 48 hours. Well worth a read.
Brian Bogusevic led off the 10th with a single to center, stole 2nd base, and Collin DeLome got him home with a walk-off double for a 7-6 win over Fresno. It got to that point because Fresno scored five runs in the 8th inning, by the by. Polin Trinidad threw 6IP, 5H/1ER, and then in came Gary Majewski, who allowed 5H/5ER, 2K:2BB in 1.1IP - with his fifth run coming courtesy of the Casey Daigle, who allowed 2H and a BB. Mark Melancon won his first game as a member of the Astros organization. German Duran was 2x4 with 3RBI, Bogusevic was 1x3 with 2BB, and 3SB.
Man of the Match: Brian Bogusevic.
Corpus took a 5-1 lead after the third inning, allowed a five-run 5th, and then scored three in the bottom of the 7th for an 8-6 win over San Antonio. Jeremy Johnson threw 4.2IP, 6H/6ER, 1K:1BB; Edwin Walker threw 1.1IP, 1H/0ER, 3K:1BB; and Jared Wells got the win with 3H/0ER, 4K:1BB in 3IP. Freddy Parejo (3x5, 2B, RBI), and J.D. Martinez (3x3 2B, 3RBI) provided your multi-hit games, with Jeremy Johnson adding 2RBI. Koby Clemens was 0x2 with 2BB, and Lou Santangelo was 1x2 with 2BB.
Man of the Match: J.D. Martinez
The JetHawks pretty much dominated Inland Empire with an 11-3 win, outhitting the 66ers 17-6. Kyle Greenwalt threw 5.2IP, 5H/3ER, 5K:1BB; Brian Wabick threw 1.1IP, 0H/0ER, and Mike Modica closed it out with 2IP, 1H, 3K:0BB. Jay Austin (HR, 2RBI), Andy Simunic (2B, 3RBI), and Jose Altuve (2 triples, RBI) had three hits each. Brian Pellegrini (HR, 2RBI), and Mark Ori (2B, RBI) had two hits each. Jay Austin also stole his 46th and 47th bases of the season.
Man of the Match: Jay Austin
Tough night at the plate for the Legends as Zach Grimmett gets stuck with a hard-luck loss. Hagerstown scored two in the first, Lexington only got three hits in a 2-0 loss. Grimmett threw 6IP, 6H/2R (1ER), 3K:2BB in the loss, while Colton Pitkin allowed one hit, two Ks, in 2IP. The three Legends hits were at the top of the order, with Grant Hogue, Jiovanni Mier, and Jimmy Paredes reaching. Brian Kemp drew two walks.
Man of the Match: Zach Grimmett
Tri-City never led in this one, losing to Mahoning Valley 7-2. Andrew Robinson threw 3IP, 6H/2ER, 1K:1BB; Jason Chowning threw 2IP, 2H/1ER (3K), David Martinez allowed 2H/1ER in 1IP. Adam Champion threw a scoreless 7th, and it got ugly for Mike Ness - 1IP, 5H/3ER, 1K:1BB. Dan Adamson got three hits, while Mike Kvasnicka (RBI) and Buck Afenir had two each. Kvasnicka is hitting .368 (14x38) in his last ten games.
Man of the Match: Mike Kvasnicka
The GCL Astros committed four errors, managing to give up five runs on six hits, in a 5-2 loss to the GCL Mets. Angel Gonzalez allowed 4H/5R (1ER), 2K:0BB while a bullpen of Juan Mojica, Jose Valdez, Emmanuel Cedano, and Kilby Pena combined for 6IP, 2H/0ER, 7K:3BB. Luca Martone was 2x3 with a walk, Roberto Pena was 1x2 with 2BB, and Jordan Scott was 1x3 with a walk and 2RBI.
Man of the Match: Jordan Scott
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
In 25 games (57.2IP) for New Hampshire, Buzachero has allowed 66H/36ER, 37K:23BB for a 5.62 ERA/1.54 WHIP.
In nine minor-league seasons, Buzachero has record 7.8 K/9 and a 2.64 K:BB ratio, reaching Triple-A in parts of four seasons.
Buzachero, who will report to either Corpus or Round Rock:
"Just found out a few minutes ago. It's going to be tough leaving these guys. It's a good group. Professionally, for me, I think this is a good thing."
Wade, in a statement:
"The Houston Astros fully support the efforts of the Commissioner’s Office to rid our sport of any type of inappropriate drug use. Our players and staff have been briefed, counseled, educated and warned about what the ramifications and consequences are when they choose, either knowingly or not, to violate the MLB drug policy. And yet, despite the best efforts of MLB and the Astros, we still have individuals who abuse our game by ignoring reality. We are embarrassed by these types of suspensions. They are a smear on our game and our organization, and we will redouble our efforts to make sure the message gets through."
"I’m always disappointed when our guys make those kind of choices," said Bennett, who stressed that performance-enhancing drug dissuasion takes place at every level of the system. "Unfortunately it happens sometimes."
The plan is for Manzella to get two at-bats in two games and then increase to three at-bats in two games. When he's prepared to play a full game, he will continue his rehab at Triple-A Round Rock. The longest the rehab could last is 20 days, but Manzella hopes it won't be that long.
"It's going to depend on how I feel. I think it's going to be on my end, basically getting into playing shape and letting them know when I'm physically ready to play."
"I'm really excited. I'm glad everything is over with and finalized. I'm ready to get going. I want to get out there right away, but this summer is the first one I had off in 12 years. I haven't played any baseball, so it's kind of weird. But I was glad I got the chance to stay at home because all my friends are going to college and I got to spend my last summer at home probably ever. That was good for me, but I've been real anxious and I had to wait. I waited long enough and it's finally over with."
DeShields, in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
“I won’t be playing any games in Florida, just getting back into baseball shape."
"It's just frustrating because I had felt really good the last week and felt good throwing bullpens and had been feeling really good today up until that pitch."
The setback leaves open the possibility of Moehler, who will have an MRI in Houston today, being unable to return for what remains of the season.
And while we're at it, why don't we go ahead and just officially shut down Felipe Paulino, whose shoulder isn't getting any better.
"I've tried every which way to get my shoulder to heal — cortisone injections, rest, anti-inflammatories, even massages - and nothing has worked. It's incredible."
He'll meet with Dr. James Andrews - provided Andrews has fully extracted himself from Brett Favre's colon - next week in Florida for a second opinion.
*Happ didn't make it out of the second inning, giving up 6H/7ER, 1K:3BB. This was the shortest outing Happ has made in a start in his career. On October 4, 2009 Happ went 2IP, 4H/2ER - throwing 39 pitches for strikes. Tonight, he needed 49 pitches to record three outs. Only 23 of them were for strikes.
*The previous shortest outing by an Astros starter this season was on May 31, when Roy got ejected after 2.1IP. Otherwise, Brian Moehler (May 29) got pulled after recording eight outs.
*The big problem was the middle of the order. The 3-4-5 of Pujols, Holliday, and Allen Craig went a combined 6x13 with 5RBI against the pitching staff.
*However, the bullpen at least gave the Astros a fighting chance, holding the Cardinals to 6H/1ER, 6K:0BB in 7IP. Nelson Figueroa was the workhorse, throwing 3IP, 1H/0ER, 3K:0BB - and seven fewer pitches than Happ.
*The Cardinals were 7x14 w/RISP. The Astros got seven hits total, spread out among seven players. But the big hitters were Chris Johnson (two-run HR), Jason Castro (1x3, 3B, BB, RBI), and Geoff Blum (pinch-hit RBI)/
*Castro has a four-game hitting streak going, going 6x16 in that span.
*Jeff Keppinger was 0x4 on the night. When Keppinger doesn't get a hit (starts only), the Astros are 9-19. When he does get a hit, they're 35-32.
Pitch Count Hero: Michael Bourn (1x3) - 17 pitches in three PAs
Pitch Count Punk: Angel Sanchez (1x4), Carlos Lee (0x4), Jason Castro (1x3, BB) - 11 pitches in four PAs
Man of the Match: Chris Johnson!
Goat of the Game: J.A. Happ - as if you needed help...
Note: We were referred to the Astros PR department. Stay tuned.
Update: Getting an unconfirmed report that potentially Jon Fixler and Marcos Cabral were also suspended.
Further Update: The Pacific Coast League's transactions page has the status changed to Meszaros placed on Temporarily Inactive List.
This is interesting. Hold, please.
Kelsey: Can you confirm that Delino Deshields Jr has signed with the Astros? Also do you think Wates and Pluko sign?
Jim Callis: Texted with his dad last night, who expects a deal to be finalized Thursday. I think Wates will sign but Plutko probably won't.
Just as we suspected...
And tomorrow makes sense, given the off-day, and all.
Rodriguez is a 20-year old, 6'4" 185lb RHP, and is 2-1 in five starts for the DSL Astros, with a 2.00 ERA/1.06 WHIP.
Rodriguez tested positive for metabolites of stanozolol, according to the Washington Post.
Rodriguez is the third Astros prospect to get suspended for PED use (Felix Ramirez and Gabriel Garcia, who pitched last night) in the last 13 months.
Here, St. Louis Post-Dispatch writer Jeff Gordon runs around the village hollering and screaming:
Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak can look at the bright side today. Fewer people are asking why he traded a beloved hitter, Ryan Ludwick, to add another pitcher.
Newcomer Jake Westbrook pitched well in his debut, allowing just two runs in six innings Monday night. He was exactly as advertised, a savvy ground-ball specialist who should fit snugly into Dave Duncan’s program. But the rest of the Cards pitching staff allowed 25 runs in the next 11 innings against the Astros. Twenty-five!
Some of that failure could be attributed to defense, or the lack thereof. Fielding is not a strong suit of this team. Even in good times, the 2010 Cards give away outs. In bad times they give away runs and games. This takes a cumulative toll on the starters and relievers.
But the pitchers still have to make pitches – and several of them quit doing that the last two days. Jaime Garcia looked like a young pitcher hitting the fatigue wall Tuesday night. Set-up man Jason Motte developed a sore shoulder and lost command. That shifted a bigger burden to Mitchell Boggs, who promptly blew up. Key lefty Dennys Reyes continued his second-half meltdown. Fill-in reliever Mike MacDougal showed everybody why he was out of the majors this season. The only reliable Cards reliever the last two days was . . . utility man Aaron Miles, who threw a scoreless ninth inning Tuesday night.
So Mozeliak must continue making changes. Issues abound. The bullpen is looking frayed these days...
...Tuesday night’s epic defeat was a cry for help. Can Mozeliak answer it quickly? Can he answer it well?
The Cards season may hinge on his response.
How Wade in Houston is able to get away with trading a stud like Roy Oswalt to the Phillies for marginal return — J.A. Happ is at best a third starter in a decent rotation, Anthony Gose is 19-years old, and Jonathan Villar is a shortstop who made a ton of errors at single-A — is beyond my comprehension. It’s one thing to justify to your fan base that you have to dump a salary like Oswalt because you are trying to rebuild your franchise. But keep in mind that Wade also sent $11 million to the Phillies to help them PAY for Oswalt. If I were the Astros GM, I couldn’t look myself in the mirror, much less look my fan base in the eye on the remote implication that I was trying to help my previous employer. (And, oh, by the way, Wade is godfather to one of Amaro’s kids!) If I was doing sports talk radio in Houston, I’d have Ed Wade’s head on a spit. But that’s their problem, not mine.
I can't wait to see your thoughts...
Astros manager Brad Mills said Blum will see most of his playing time at shortstop.
"At the same time, because he is so versatile, we can see him anywhere," Mills said.
And now you may slam your genitals in the refrigerator.
The Astros asked for Tejada and Bobby Parnell, and that pretty much ended the conversation.
Nashville took a 2-0 lead, Round Rock tied it up at 2-2, and then Nashville promptly responded with two more in the 6th for the 4-2 win. Yorman Bazardo allowed 8H/4ER, 5K:1BB, 2WP in 5.2IP. And then the bullpen of Bayliss, Corcoran, and Daigle threw 2.1IP of perfect relief. Brian Bogusevic was 3x3 with a stolen base and a walk, Jack Shuck was 2x3 with 2BB, and German Duran was 2x4 with a double. Shuck has five hits in 11ABs since his 0x5 debut.
Man of the Match: Brian Bogusevic
Corpus was in control for pretty much all of the game in their 11-5 win over San Antonio. Dallas Keuchel threw 6IP, 3H/2ER, 3K:1BB for his first win at Double-A. Jailen Peguero threw two perfect innings. Arcenio Leon came on to finish out the 9th, but gave a up 1H/3ER, 3BB, so Erick Abreu had to close it out. Michael Affronti was 4x4 with a walk and 5RBI on the night. Freddy Parejo, J.D. Martinez (2BB), Jon Gaston (RBI), and Kody Kirkland all had two hits each. Koby Clemens - back for the first time since that hammy injury - was 0x3 with two sac flies and 2RBI.
Man of the Match: Michael Affronti
This was a tight game throughout, but Lancaster was able to withstand a two-run rally in the 9th to defeat Inland Empire 9-8. Robby Donovan allowed 6H/4ER, 4K:4BB, 2WP in 5IP, while Brian Wabick allowed 3H/2ER, 1K:1BB in 1IP. Jose Trinidad allowed 2BB and 2ER, helped by Berner allowing both inherited runners to score, with 2H/0ER in 1IP. Lee Cruz was 4x5 with a triple and an RBI; Jonathan Villar (2B, RBI) and Brandon Barnes (HR, 2RBI) had three hits each. Jay Austin and Andy Simunic had two hits each.
Man of the Match: Brandon Barnes
Hagerstown took a 3-0 lead after the first, Lexington scored the next four for a 4-3 lead going into the bottom of the third, where the Hagerstown...Smiling Baseballs (according to their logo) got four in the bottom of the inning to snag the 8-5 win. Luis Cruz allowed 6H/7R (4ER), 4K:1BB in 4IP - oh yeah, there were errors by Jonathan Meyer, Brian Kemp, Rene Garcia, and Jimmy Paredes (his 37th error). Brad Dydalewicz gave up a hit and three walks in 3IP (1ER), and Mike Schurz walked one in an otherwise uneventful inning. Kody Hinze was 3x4, with his 15th homer and was a triple short of the cycle and 2RBI. Jimmy Paredes and Our Boy Aaron Bray had two hits each, with Jake Goebbert and Renzo Tello adding RBIs.
Man of the Match: Kody Hinze.
Tri-City took a 4-2 lead after four innings, and held in for a 5-3 win over Vermont. Since having their game against Connecticut called for rain, the ValleyCats are 6-4. Alex Sogard got the start, allowing 4H/2ER, 2K:0BB, WP in 3.1IP. Murillo Gouvea got the win with 2.2IP, 3H/1ER, 2K:1BB. Travis Blankenship, Brandt Walker, and Jorge De Leon closed it out with 3IP, 2H/0ER, 2K:1BB combined. Ben Orloff was 3x4 with a double and an RBI (and was caught stealing twice). Enrique Hernandez, Tyler Burnett (HR), and Mike Kvasnicka were each 2x4. The top four spots in the lineup provided 4RBI.
Man of the Match: Tyler Burnett.
Greeneville never led in the game, down 3-0, then 3-1, then 4-1, then 4-3 after the 7th, and Johnson City added a comfort run, winning 5-3. Travis Smink took the loss with 2.2IP, 5H/3ER, 3K:1BB. Gabe Garcia struck out three in 2IP, while Jeiler Castillo and Brian Streilein each gave up a run - with Cole's hit allowing Streilein's run. Rafael Valenzuela hit his first homer (striking out three times in his other ABs), and Chris Wallace was 1x2 with an RBI and a walk.
Man of the Match: Uhhh...Rafael Valenzuela?
The GCL Cardinals almost blanked the GCL Astros, giving up the run in the 9th inning, for a 6-1 win. Danilo Del Rio took the loss, allowing 4IP, 4H/3ER, 2K:1BB, 2WP. B.J. Hagen allowed 4H/1ER in 2IP, Ebert Rosario - another former position player learning how to pitch - threw a perfect 7th to lower his ERA to 33.75, and Pedro Gomez allowed 3H/2ER in 2IP. The GCL Astros got four hits - Josh Magee, Ronald Sanchez (BB, RBI), Jose Monzon, and Chan-Jong Moon.
Man of the Match: Ronald Sanchez
*Obviously, the Astros' 18 runs are a season-high. The last time the Astros scored 18 runs in a game was, holy Hannah, at St. Louis on September 20, 2007. This was, of course, the famous J.R. Towles 8RBI game.
*So since the All-Star Break, the Astros are 11-6, outscoring their opponents 100-75. Since June 1, the Astros are 30-25.
*Against the NL Central, the Astros are 30-20.
*Everyone got a hit, some more than others. Angel "J.R." Sanchez was 4x6 with 6RBI, and was a homer short of the cycle.
*Carlos Lee was 3x5 with a walk. Since July 27, Lee is 10x22 with 1K:5BB. He has raised his batting average 13 points since that July 27 game, and his OPS 41 points (.655 to .696).
*Pedro Feliz thanked Ed Wade for not cutting his ass with a 3x6, 2RBI game. But still, Brett Wallace had a pinch-hit RBI single to make sure we didn't forget about him.
*And seriously, Chris Johnson should not ever miss a game. Ever. Adding another 2x3, 3RBI game - it's his second one of those...in five games. He has seven multi-hit games in his last ten, and has a 17-game on-base streak going. Johnson is now hitting .350.
*Coming into the game, the Astros were 203x828 (.245) w/RISP. After last night's 13x19 w/RISP explosion, that average moves up to .255.
*And of course we get to talk about Bud Norris. He wasn't spotless - allowing 7H/4ER, 6K:1BB in 6IP, but it was enough for the win. His 10th career win, actually, and it brings his career record to 10-10. Five of those wins are against St. Louis.
*Jeff Fulchino threw 1IP, 1H/0ER, 2K:1BB, needing 25 pitches to get through the inning, and throwing only 11 strikes.
Pitch Count Hero: Jason Castro (2x5, BB) - 28 pitches in six PAs.
Pitch Count Punk: Chris Johnson (2x3) - 10 pitches in three PAs.
Man of the Match: Angel Sanchez. May your career not peak with this random outburst against the Cardinals.
Goat of the Game: I'm feeling good. No Goat.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
And speaking of Pedro Feliz, he's currently been the worst player in baseball in terms of wins above replacement. The 35-year-old started the season as Houston's everyday third baseman and has continued to receive regular playing time since losing his job to Chris Johnson, despite the fact that he has yet to look like an MLB-quality player this season. His .218/.241/.310 line is truly ugly, and his once-fantastic glove has graded out as well below-average this season. He doesn't walk, he doesn't hit for average, he doesn't hit for power, and he doesn't play good defense. I suppose that's how you put up a minus-1.6 WAR on the season so far.
In other words: a trained komodo dragon could do as well as Feliz this season.
We'll do our own organizational rankings after the season ends, in addition to getting a full slate of In Review posts. Except this time we'll start earlier - like, as soon as the minor-league season is over - to allow time to run through the full system.
But seriously, this is a good, handy guide to Eddie's Farm.
As good as he was on the football field, it was through baseball that Jantz was recently drafted by a professional sports organization. The .372 hitter as a Nevada Union center fielder was selected by the Houston Astros in the 29th round with the 873rd pick of the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft. But, after playing summer ball for a team in the Bay Area, Jantz has decided to follow in his brother Steele's footsteps in playing football for City College of San Francisco.
"It was pretty tough. My dream is to be a professional baseball player and to play in the major leagues. I had the option to sign right away and play in the minors. There were pros and cons on both sides, but I want to do what's best for my future and I think the better option now is going to Wagner."
Will he sign?
I'm in the middle right now. It's difficult, very difficult.
Although it doesn't sound like it's terribly difficult:
It's actually a great time to come into UCLA. All their pitching is gone. You've got three young pitchers coming in -- me, Zach Weiss (Irvine, Calif./Northwood) and Nick Vander Tuig (Oakdale, Calif./Oakdale). We're all pretty tight. As far as a pitcher coming in, there hasn't been a better time since Gerrit and Trevor [Bauer] came in.
How the Astros are approaching his negotiation:
The Astros have said that it's going to be a down-to-the-end decision. They're kind of seeing what money they have left and they're going to go from there.
Verdict: I'm guessing he's gone to UCLA.
"He's going to be an Astro. No doubt."
"The get-it-done deal is in front of Delino and his family. We're still extremely optimistic he will be an Astro. Unfortunately, it will be more on their clock and calendar than we had hoped."
Let's say, just for giggles, that DeShields signs today. He would probably report to Greeneville, where there is about a month of the season left. So he's looking at maybe 200 PAs this year - on the high side. This is definitely not the way Bobby Heck likes to do things.
We also read that Heck hopes to sign more players "this week." Who will it be?
On his first and only day in Round Rock with the Class AAA affiliate of the Houston Astros, Brett Wallace ducked into the manager's offense to go over the team's signs.
He got a sign, all right. The manager told him he was scratched from the lineup, that he should enjoy the game and wait for more information. Nine innings later, skipper Marc Bombard handed Wallace a cell phone number to call. Houston general manager Ed Wade answered.
"He goes, 'We need you to fly to Houston tomorrow morning. We traded Lance. We want you to play first,'" Wallace said Monday. "It didn't register at all. I didn't know whether to scream, yell, jump up and down, call my family. I was just shocked."
"It came to fruition that now was the right time to take on that challenge. We're not sure where it's going to take us at this point but he's willing to do it and we're going to take the time to see what he can do on the mound."
Ramirez, in nine seasons, is a career .246/.277/.365 hitter, with 419K:87BB. He just isn't a viable prospect as an outfielder (as Levine notes), but I suppose it says something about what the Astros perceive as his athleticism that they're willing to give it a shot.
Angel Sanchez has done well at short in Manzella's absence (and might have earned the starting role, even when Manzella is activated), and Anderson Hernandez has been alright, as well.
But who should go? It's not even that tough of a decision - Pedro Feliz. He's not even the go-to guy on the bench for a pinch-hit appearance, anymore. It's time to go ahead and pull the plug on his .551 OPS (and an OPS+ of 48). If the Astros were willing to release Kaz Matsui, they shouldn't have a problem eating the ~$1.5m remaining on Feliz' contract.
There's a good chance of getting him at first base. When? I don't know that yet. I think we need to find out what we have; that's all. It'd be just to see how he does in one game and see if maybe he wants to do it again."
This is actually something we were pushing for in the moments after the Berkman trade, before the Astros got Brett Wallace, when it made more sense to get Lee out of the outfield. If it opens up a spot for Bourgeois, or (gasp) Bogusevic, then I'm all for it. But not at the expense of Brett Wallace's development. Later in the Notes column, we see that Wallace will be getting the majority of starts at 1B, but will sit against selected LHPs.
From: The Constable
While I appreciate your effort to inform our Citizens as to the local government here at Astros County, it is very clear that I currently reside in Nashville, and have not lived in Pasadena in 12 years. Those kind of mistakes will get you DFA'ed, and replaced by Deputies Street and/or Deputy Jason.
Nashville took a 2-0 lead into the 8th, when the Express got one back. The Sounds answered with three in the bottom of the 8th for a 5-1 win. Shane Loux pitched a good game, allowing 9H/2ER, 4K:0BB in 7IP, but the offense couldn't bail him out of dropping to 2-11, with a 6.59 ERA. Jonah Bayliss allowed 3R (2ER) in 1IP. Brian Esposito hit a solo homer for all the scoring, and Jack Shuck, Chris Shelton, Oswaldo Navarro, and Loux added hits. Shuck also had an outfield assist, nailing Luis Cruz at home.
Man of the Match: Shane Loux.
Continuing the trend of scoring one run late were the Hooks, who lost to Midland 5-1, despite outhitting the Rockhounds 9-7. Henry Villar got the start, throwing 7IP, 4H/4ER, 1K:3BB. Matt Nevarez came in for an inning, giving up 3H/1ER, 1K:4BB and leaving the bases loaded for Erick Abreu, who shut it down with a perfect 9th. Freddy Parejo was 3x4, while Jon Gaston and Jimmy Van Ostrand (RBI) had two hits each. J.D. Martinez was 0x3, but drawing the lone walk and scoring the lone run. Blum was 0x4 at shortstop.
Man of the Match: Erick Abreu. Bases loaded, no out? No runs.
The Legends never trailed in their 9-4 win over Hagerstown, collecting 15 hits. Jose Cisnero improved to 6-5 with 5IP, 5H/2ER, 4K:3BB. Dan Sarisky allowed 3H/1ER in 2IP, and Wander Alvino allowed 2H/1ER, 3K:1BB. Six Legends had two hits - Hogue (2x4, 2RBI), Paredes (2x5, RBI, SB), Goebbert (2x4, BB), Hinze (2x5, 3R, RBI), Garcia (2x4, 3RBI), and Kemp (2x4, RBI). Our Boy Aaron Bray was 1x3 with an RBI and a walk. Paredes' stolen base was his 38th of the season.
Man of the Match: Rene Garcia
A 7-run third inning led Tri-City to a 10-1 win over Vermont. Jake Buchanan threw 6IP, 2H/0ER, 3K:1BB; Joan Belliard allowed two hits, striking out two, in 2IP. Adam Champion allowed the lone run on two hits and a walk in the 9th. Ben Orlof, Enrique Hernandez, Tyler Burnett, Mike Kvasnicka, Dan Adamson, and Wilton Infante had two hits each. Jacke Healey and Dan Adamson hit homers, and Burnett, Kvasnicka, and Adamson had 2RBI each.
Man of the Match: Jake Buchanan
Complete domination on the part of Johnson City in a 14-2 win over the Gastros. Ricardo Batista allowed 6H/5R (3ER), 2K:4BB in 4.2IP. Paul Gerrish came in for 5H/4ER in 1.1IP. Justin Harper allowed 6H/5R (1ER) in 2.2IP, and Phil Rorabaugh got the final out of the game. Six of those 14 runs were unearned, thanks to errors by Our Boy Bubby Williams (catcher interference), Jonathan Merritt and Pedro Feliz (both fielding). Telvin Nash got an RBI triple, while Merritt, Chris Lovett, Jhonny Medrano, Rafael Valenzuela, and Feliz got the hits.
Man of the Match: Telvin Nash. Slugging .611 over his last ten games.
The GCL Astros were down 1-0 early, but stormed back for a 5-2 win over the GCL Nationals. Six GCL Astro pitchers combined to allow 3H/2R (0ER), 3K:6BB, with Kristian Bueno getting his 2nd save of the season. Jose Vargas, Jose Fernandez, and Chan-Jong Moon had two hits each.
Man of the Match: Chan-Jong Moon - 2x3, BB, 2RBI.
*With the win, the Astros moved to 46-59. More significantly, because the Cubs got the hell beat out of them by the Brewers, the Astros are in 4th place in the NL Central.
*It's the first time they haven't been in 5th or 6th place since April 25. It's also the first time they've been within 13 games of .500 since May 22, when a loss to Tampa Bay put then at 15-28.
*Since losing G99 to Chicago (and the resulting six-game win streak), the Astros' pitching staff has thrown 54IP, 32H/6ER, 53K:17BB.
*So Myers goes six innings for the 22nd time - all his starts - allowing 3H/3R (2ER), with 4K:4BB, throwing 90 pitches.
*Keeping an eye on his BABIP, the Cardinals were 3x16 on balls put in play against Myers.
*Everyone save for Quintero (0x5) got a hit, dropping Quintero's OPS to .566.
*Carlos Lee got on base four times by way of two hits, two walks, and an RBI. Since July 23, Lee is 10x35 with 3K:4BB. Three of those hits have been for extra bases.
*Jeff Keppinger was 2x5 with 4RBI. It's the second time he's had 4RBI in a game this season, and it gives him 40RBI for the year. His career high for RBI is 43.
*Brett (The Hit Man) Wallace got on base three times: single, HBP, IBB. Interesting moment in the 8th, with Jason Motte on the mound: With the score 4-4, Lee on third and Keppinger on 2nd, the Cardinals intentionally walked the guy with 10 career plate appearances in the Majors for the guy hitting .341 coming into the game. There wasn't anybody out, so it's likely LaRussa wanted a double play situation, which Quintero obliged to end the inning.
Pitch Count Hero: Michael Bourn (1x4, BB) - 28 pitches in five PAs.
Pitch Count Punk: Hunter Pence (2x5) - 13 pitches in five PAs.
Man of the Match: I think we have to go with Keppinger here - he's just hitting everywhere he's in the lineup.
Goat of the Game: Humberto Quintero!
Monday, August 2, 2010
The Constable - (Independent - Pasadena)
Creator, Editor, Figurehead
Handles major news updates, radio appearances, and updates before 6:30am.
County Clerk - (Democrat - LaMarque)
Handles the posting of the game recaps. Lives and dies with every nine innings.
Juvenile Court Judge - (Republican - Katy)
Handles Eddie's Farm recaps and statistics. Cares more about the Hooks than about the Astros.
The Bailiff - (Republican - Beaumont)
Scoures the transaction line every day. Places great importance on the Temporarily Inactive list.
Deputies: Street, Jason
Handles bidness when any of the above four are unavailable. They do an excellent job, and sometimes we're afraid The Constable is going to replace us with one of them. And it might be justified.
Basically what Ed Wade is gambling on is that the 2010 version of the guy he drafted back in 1999, who is currently in the midst of a career year, is the real Brett Myers. And he will continue to be 2010 Brett Myers in 2011 and 2012, and possibly 2013. So what's going on with Myers now?
A couple of things:
*A look at his peripheral statistics shows us that Myers is striking out more batters per nine innings (7.01) than 2009 (6.37), but still lower than his career (7.44). It's not a huge drop - one K per three starts, essentially.
*But he is walking fewer batters per nine innings (2.61). This is actually the lowest number of walks per nine innings than at any point in his career to date.
*And he has also kept the ball in the park, allowing a career-best 0.74 HR/9 - the first time that number has been under 1.00 since his first full season in 2003 (0.93).
*His FIP is also a nice little 3.52. This is almost a full run below his career FIP (4.42). Is it uck, or just the process of getting out of Philadelphia and not being hurt, or Brad Arnsberg, or not being jerked around in the rotation/bullpen? Could be a combination of all three.
*Something else we can see is that it's not as though Myers is getting terribly lucky, BABIP-wise, sitting at .294 on the year. Strangely enough, last year, his BABIP was .273, so he's "unluckier" this year than he was later year, but he also gave up 2.29 HR/9 in 2009.
*Which leads us to this: He's getting more groundballs this year (49.8%) than he has at any other point since 2003, when it was just a shade better at 49.9%. Those line drives are also coming down, as are the flyballs. And in a remarkable turn of statistical events, only 8.5% of the flyballs he does allow are leaving the yard. Compare that to 2009, when 23.4% of his fly balls resulted in the batter taking an easy, 360' stroll.
*If we look at his pitch type (note: all these numbers come from his FanGraphs page), we see that Myers isn't relying on his fastball as much, throwing it 44.5% of the time, the lowest percentage of his career. He's also leaned heavily on a a slider - 28.1%, as opposed to a previous career high of 18.4% slider rate.
*The opposing batters' plate discipline should be noted, as well. According to FanGraphs, batters are swinging at 27% of his pitches outside of the strike zone - well above his career 22.1% average.
*So basically, batters are swinging more, making contact less, and not making good contact when they do. Does that add up to a pitcher worth $21 million? On a contending team, possibly. But does it make sense for a team who, in all likelihood, won't contend next year, and possibly the year after, to spend that kind of money on a starting pitcher?
*This year Myers has been worth $11.2m. On a $3.1m salary, that's great. On a $7m salary (2011) it's pretty dang good. On a $10m salary, he is running the risk of being of equal to his salary. And it's about time this team starts getting greater bang for its buck.
*To conclude: If 2010 Myers is the real Myers, this might not be such a bad deal. If this is not the real Brett Myers, then Ed Wade has made the fatal mistake of giving out a rich contract to a player in an unforeseen career year.
He not only was having his worst season. He was having his worst season in the NL Central, the majors' worst division by far. What he is doing going from the NL Central to the AL East is the equivalent of going from the Ivy League to the Southeastern Conference in college football. Everything is going to get faster, better, more talented and more passionate.
What players who come to the Yankees – unless they come from Boston or maybe one or two other places – notice quickly is the intensity of the games. Every pitch matters when you are a Yankee. It is a lingering effect of having a team owned by George Steinbrenner, playing in the largest media market in the world, having the most fans, having the most enemies, having the largest payroll, by far, and having the most expectations, by far.
It is a unique cauldron. And players either love and embrace the intensity or find this is a difficult place to play. It certainly takes getting used to and Berkman, Kerry Wood and Austin Kearns have to recalibrate two-thirds of the way through the year. But as bad as the Indians are, Wood and Kearns were at least playing in the AL. Berkman was not only playing in the inferior league, but within the softest division.
Two games is too small a sample size, especially when it is your first two games in a new place and against a team as good as the Rays. But Berkman looked slow and inadequate on both sides of the ball. Maybe that is about a natural transition. Or maybe it is about going from the Ivy League to the SEC.
-Andy Van Hekken can pitch pretty well. He throws to contact, has a seemingly easy delivery, but it can all go wrong very quickly. I sent a tweet in the 5th inning that he had only allowed one run - a solo homer. He then followed that up by getting flat-out rocked in the 6th.
-Jack Shuck is one fast dude. He almost beat out a routine groundball to third for his first hit as an Express (-er?). Later, he hit into what would have been a double play, but beat the throw to first by about four steps. He also turned a double to the gap into a pretty easy, sliding 2-run triple, later scoring. He looked far more comfortable in his last three ABs than in his first.
-Collin DeLome hit two homers - both pulled to right-center - but neither of them in doubt. He had some good ABs.
-Mark Melancon threw well, too. He gave up a couple of sharply hit grounders, one right through his 5-hole, and one that was an error on 3B Matt Kata. It was a tough, though, make-able play.
-Brian Esposito needs to riot if Edwin Bellorin keeps getting playing time.
Berkman did make a nice, diving play to save a run in the fourth inning, but he was honest enough afterward to say that coming over from the woeful Astros and being thrown into this series was something of a culture shock for him.
"I don't think I've played in a meaningful game in three years. I hate to put it like that, but it's different. With this type of intensity you have to manage your emotions, you have to slow everything down. You have to be in that environment again to learn to do that."
Careful, Lance, for a while I was actually sad that you left...
And they couldn't be more unlike each other. Levine's brings optimism that comes with a youth movement. Jerome Solomon is the resident contrarian, comparing - unfavorably - Houston to Philadelphia. Honestly, it's an article that was so obvious it barely needed to be written.
"He threw everything on his rehab assignments, and he felt good. The action on his pitches were good; the velocities were up again. So we're hoping that he can step right in and pick up right where he did last year and the good times this year."
The Constable will get to his impressions of the Round Rock game last night in a separate post, so we'll keep this in it's regular format for now. Round Rock allowed the first time runs of the game, then stormed back to take a 6-5 lead going into the bottom of the 9th, and ended up losing to Nashville 7-6. Andy Van Hekken threw 5.1IP, 8H/5R (4ER), 2K:2BB. Mark Melancon allowed 2H/0ER in 1.2IP. Danny Meszaros gave up a hit and an intentional walk in 1IP, and Chris Sampson got the loss with 4H/2ER in 0.2IP. Edwin Maysonet was 3x5 with an RBI, Jack Shuck was 2x5 with a triple and 2RBI, and Collin DeLome hit his 10th and 11th homers.
Man of the Match: Collin DeLome
It was within the realm of possibility that the Hooks could have held Midland to two hits and lost. However, Corpus scored in the 8th for the 1-0 win. Doug Arguello threw 5IP, 1H/0ER, 6K:4BB (six groundouts, one flyout) for the No Decision; Edwin Walker threw 3IP, 1H/0ER, 2K:1BB for the win, and Jared Wells closed it out for his first save. Albert Cartwright was 2x4, as was Geoff Blum, with Blum's flyball to the warning track scoring Cartwright. Freddy Parejo, Kody Kirkland, and Jimmy Van Ostrand collected the other hits. The Hooks struck out 12 times - 3 from Gaston and 2 each from Parejo, Cartwright, and Santangelo.
Man of the Match: I'm not giving a Double-A Man of the Match to Geoff Blum. Albert Cartwright gets it.
High-scoring affair out at Coors Lite! Lancaster scores the last six runs of the game for the 11-9 win over Bakersfield. Ross Seaton continued his yo-yo season, allowing 10H/9R (7ER), 2WP in 3.2IP. Shane Wolf struck out six and allowed just three hits in 5.1IP of relief. Big night for SS Jonathan Villar! 4x4, with two doubles, two runs, 4RBI, and a stolen base. Jay Austin (2x5, 2B, 3B, SB), Brandon Barnes (2x5, 2B, HR, 2RBI), and Lee Cruz (2x4, 2B, RBI) had your multi-hit games, while Andy Simunic only had one hit, but made it count with a 3-run HR.
Man of the Match: Jonathan Villar
Another come-from-behind victory for Eddie's Farm, as Lexington comes from 2-1 down for a 7-2 win. Juan Minaya allowed 6H/2ER, 1K:4BB in 6IP (13 groundouts:2 flyouts), while Brenden Stines allowed one walk, no hits. in 3IP for the win. Stines' ERA = 1.64. Jake Goebbert was 4x5 with two runs an and an RBI, Kody Hinze was 3x4 with two doubles, a walk, and 2RBI. Jiovanni Mier, Rene Garcia (3B, RBI), and Grant Hogue had two hits each. Jimmy Paredes added a double and an RBI.
Man of the Match: Kody Hinze.
Pitchers' duel out in Connecticut, with the ValleyCats dropping 3-1. Bobby Doran threw 6IP, 4H/2ER, 3K:1BB, WP in a hard-luck loss, with John Frawley allowing a hit and an unearned run in 2IP. Ben Heath, Adam Bailey, Oscar Figueroa, and Ryan McCurdy provided your hits - with Bailey getting the RBI. Dan Adamson drew two walks, and he and Oscar Figueroa stole a base each. The ValleyCats were 1x10 w/RISP.
Man of the Match: Bobby Doran.
Johnson City scored four in the 5th, and went on to win 5-2. Ruben Alaniz allowed 8H/5R (4ER), 2K:1BB. Garrett Bullock gave up two hits, 3K:2BB in 3.1IP of relief, and Jamaine Cotton threw a scoreless 9th. It was his first scoreless outing since July 6 (five appearances). Telvin Nash hit his 9th homer - a two-run shot - in the 4th, providing all the runs, while Merritt, Wallace, Nidiffer, and Chris Lovett provided the other hits.
Man of the Match: Telvin Nash
Hard to believe this game was scoreless going into the 6th. The GCL Marlins whoop up on the GCL Astros 13-2. Jose Perdomo threw 6IP, 4H/4R (2ER), 5K:3BB. Raul Rivera and Juan Mojica each gave up 3ER, while Rafael Feliz allowed three unearned runs in 0.1IP. The GCL Astros committed six errors: Ditthardt, two from Fernandez, Genoves, and two from Chan-Jong Moon. Jose Monzon and Enrique Fernandez had two hits each, while Ryan Ditthardt and Jose Vargas provided the two other hits. Chan-Jong Moon, playing at 3rd, did draw two walks.
Man of the Match: Ugh. Jose Perdomo?
The DSL Astros didn't get a hit until Jose Solano singled with two outs in the bottom of the 9th, and the DSL Dodgers obviously win 5-0. Enderson Franco threw 5IP, 4H/2ER, 1K:0BB, while Cristian Hirland allowed 8H/3ER, 2K:0BB in 3IP. Edgar Ferreira threw a scoreless 9th, though allowing two walks and a wild pitch. There was clearly not much going on offensively, with Solano's 9th inning single. But Yonathan Mejia drew a walk, and Luis De La Rosa drew two walks.
Man of the Match: Enderson Franco, I suppose.
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Position Player: Brian Bogusevic. Followed up a .274/.344/.434 June with a .301/.421/.447 July. For the first time this season, and maybe in his career, he drew more walks (21) than strikeouts (20), and posted a season-high .867 OPS.
Pitcher: This one was tough, but it's going back to Josh Banks. He didn't have a great month - in fact going 0-2 with a a 4.82 ERA. But he did allow 31H and 4BB in 28IP.
Position Player: This could go to catcher Jon Fixler, but he only played in 15 games, posting a .317/.404/.634 line in those games. However, due to more production in twice as many ABs, it goes to Jon Gaston. In 29 games he hit .324/.376/.546 for a .922 OPS - topping his June OPS by 331 points. Yes, 331 points.
Pitcher: Another tough one. But it's going to Jeremy Johnson. Finished July with a 3.89 ERA and 40H (12BB) in 34.2IP.
Position Player: It was difficult, but because there were a couple of good candidates. This month it goes to Brian Pellegrini. Coming off surgery, Pellegrini posted a .303/.407/.566 line with five doubles, five homers, 19K:12BB in 20 games.
Pitcher: Here's a surprising choice - Leandro Cespedes. His ERA was highly inflated (5.92), but he allowed 38 baserunners in in 24.1IP, posting a 1.18 groundball/flyball rate - the first month since April that it wasn't upside-down - but with 25K:9BB, he's as deserving as anyone else.
Position Player: Not sure how we don't give it to Jose Altuve. He hit .346/.402/.449 in 26 games, with 12K:10BB in 107ABs, with 15 stolen bases in 17 attempts.
Pitcher: Going to roll this out to Tanner Bushue. He suffered from a high ERA, though his 4.39 July ERA was almost a run and a half lower than his June ERA. Bushue only allowed 32 baserunners (23H/9BB) in 26.2IP, and had a groundball/flyball ratio above 1.00 (1.55, actually) for the first time this season, holding hitters to a .237 average.
Position Player: Tyler Burnett. Dude hit .330/.439/.511 in 25 games in July, with 16K:18BB.
Pitcher: Goes to reliever Travis Blankenship - who allowed 17 baserunners in 13.2IP, though did post a 0.66 ERA, holding hitters to a .196 BAA.
Position Player: Marcus Nidiffer. Hit .302/.400/.538 in 29 games, with 12 extra-base hits. Struck out a ton (34 times), though he did walk 10 times. Also had five stolen bases in six attempts.
Pitcher: Giving this to Vincent Velasquez. In five games - three starts - Velasquez has posted 18K (4BB) in 15.2IP for a 2.87 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP. Hitters are tagging him for a .194 BAA.
Position Player: Ryan Ditthardt. Ditthardt is hitting .340/.411/.460 in 17 games, with four of his 17 hits coming for extra-bases.
Pitcher: Jose Perdomo! In 28IP in July, Perdomo has 31K:7BB, allowing 18 hits and no homers.
Update: Brian McTaggart tweets that Myers' extension is for two years, plus a vesting option for 2013. Total value (with option + incentives): Approaching $29.5 million. No word on year-by-year breakdown, but we'll have it as soon as we know.
Further update: Ed Price says the two guaranteed years are for $21m.
Better update: Brian McTaggart posted the details of Myers' extension:
2013: $10m (club/vesting option)*
*Myers will receive a $3m buyout if the option doesn't vest, and he'll also immediately receive a $2m signing bonus to replace the $2m buyout at the end of 2010.
For the third time in less than 13 months and for the second consecutive trade deadline, former Cardinals top prospect Brett Wallace had to pack his bags for a move. The first-round pick has yet to take an at-bat in the majors, and yet he's already been with four organizations, and twice he's been on the periphery of deals the Philadelphia Phillies have made for a front-line starting pitcher. And, of all the teams, he's never been with Philly. Remember when it was just uncertain whether he would stay at a position? Now he cannot stick with a team.
God have mercy. We're not talking about a guy who has been traded three times in a year for Adam Everett, Milton Bradley, and Gary Matthews, Jr. He's been part of - or the key prospect in - deals for Matt Holliday, Roy Halladay, and now Roy Oswalt. Give me a break about how he can't stick with a team.
*Berkman would have approved a trade to Texas and St. Louis, and "would have thought about" Tampa Bay and San Diego. He turned down the Angels and White Sox.
But he's leaving here and heading to a great team, to play in a packed ballpark every night, where every game matters. And the Yankees win. A lot. And once he gets a taste of winning again, I sincerely doubt he'll long to be back here when it's over.
Finally, this team has let itself turn the page. Finally, owner Drayton McLane has signed off on allowing his franchise to "quit holding onto what was and what was not going to be," said one NL executive. The Astros saved themselves $15 million. They got an underrated starter (J.A. Happ) to replace Oswalt, got a big league-ready bopper (Brett Wallace) to replace Berkman, did OK in their prospect haul and started looking at tomorrow. Finally. And it's about time. There's also some speculation this set the stage for McLane to sell the team, but that's another story.
Who knows what the results will be? There's no way to know how younger guys will do until they get a chance to go out there and play. But it's the right thing to do.
The Astros weren't going anywhere with the mix of players they began this season with, and now they've decided to change it. There'll be some bumps in the road, but at least there's a future that makes sense.
Jerome Solomon, in a scathing review:
Now explain to me once more, exactly what are Astros fans supposed to be happy about?
The team just traded its two most popular players — one of the franchise's all-time great pitchers and one of the franchise's all-time great hitters — for a bunch of guys who most likely will never be the franchise's all-time great anythings. The Astros make a couple of moves that almost had to be made and some, particularly those who have been calling for the overhaul of the team for years, are optimistic?
Are you serious? Not much has changed.
The Astros haven’t sold off much over the years because they’ve been contenders, or simply stubborn in keeping some of their aging players. But they finally realized it’s time to retool, and began that process by selling off Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman, two mainstays. This wasn’t an easy decision for owner Drayton McLane or CEO Tal Smith. But they not only obtained promising lefthander J.A. Happ from the Phillies, they also did a nice job flipping outfielder Anthony Gose, one of the prospects they obtained from Philadelphia, to Toronto for first baseman Brett Wallace.
Saturday Night Live's Seth Meyers:
Only way I see the Berkman trade not working out in favor of the Yankees is if Berkman murders Jeter.
Our take: Had the Astros done nothing, they would have been blasted. Now that they have, they're getting blasted (though it's not widespread.) Whatever the Astros did, someone was going to call Ed Wade an idiot and Drayton McLane a moron. Sometimes, you just can't win.