Friday, September 10, 2010

Interview: Brandon Barnes

Today we bring you the first of several treats this off-season: Interviews with real, live players! Brandon Barnes was good enough to answer some questions for us.

AC: You were a 2005 6th Round draft pick, despite not having played organized baseball all that long. Can you talk about your high schoo/JuCo baseball career, and what led up to the draft?

BB: I grew up with a passion for baseball, it started when I was 4 years old. when I was 10, I started playing football and fell in love with the physical aspect of the game, and how fun it was to be able to hit someone while playing a game. As I entered high school, I decided to play football and baseball - as a sophomore I played varsity baseball and football as a starting 3rd baseman and safety/wide receiver.

I did not have that great of a baseball career in high school but dominated the football field. So as my senior year came around I made the decision to quit baseball and fulfill a dream of playing D1 football and then on to the NFL, but like I said, my passion since I was a child was baseball. I had scholarships to UCLA and Colorado State, and towards the end of the signing period my scholarships fell through with both schools, and I decided to walk on at Cypress Junior College.

At Cypress, I did not even know what the amateur draft was, so it really helped to just have fun playing baseball. Towards the end of the season is when colleges and pro scouts started talking to me and coming to my house. I was slotted between the 10th and 12th round of the draft, so when my name was called in the sixth round I was in shock. I didn't believe that someone thought I was that good. It was a childhood dream coming true.

AC: One of the things that we fans talk about (those of us who follow the minors, anyway) is the Lancaster Effect. Last year you hit 12 homers in 68 games at Lancaster, and 27 in the Cal League this season - though you hit almost as many homers on the road as you did at home. How do you approach hitting in Lancaster compared to other places you've played in your career?

BB: Everybody believes that there is this big upside to playing in Lancaster for homeruns. The fact is that you still have to hit the ball good to get it out of the park as a right handed hitter. The wind blows out to right field and I never changed my swing to hit the ball to right field. My approach was to stay right up the middle and try to drive the ball at the center fielder. I believe I have enough power to hit the ball out of any park I play in. I do not try to hit home runs - just line drives, and the line drives will turn into home runs. The secret is not to change your approach and just mature as a hitter.

AC: Back in June you hit for the cycle, the day after Freddy Parejo did it. What was going through your mind during the game?

BB: The funny part of that day is from the moment I stepped into the clubhouse, I told freddy that I was going to do whatever he did that day: stretch, throw, workout, the same amount of sprints, and whatever he ate, I was going to eat - not ever thinking I was going to actually repeat what he did the night before.

My first at bat, I hit a home run, still nothing going through my mind at that point. 2nd at bat I actually struck out, so I was nowhere even close to thinking about a cycle. 3rd at bat was the triple, and at that point I was thinking that if I was able to get two more at bats, I could have a chance. 4th at bat was the double and from there it was all over my mind: am I going to get another at bat, could I actually do it? 5th at bat came and I had to step out of the box and take a deep breath because my mind was racing. I actually swung at a changeup down in the zone and hit a slow roller to the shortstop, and I don't think I have ever ran that fast in my life.

AC: The Astros had three players at Corpus get popped with a 50-game suspension for using what looks like an over-the-counter supplement. As you're a slugger, how does the concern about supplements and possible suspensions affect your workout regimen?

BB: I am not too concerned, because I do not use anything over the counter. I use NSF-certified supplements. I will never change my workout regimen because I believe my workouts help with my strength speed and agility. It's just one of those things where it wasn't an illegal supplement, there was just something mixed in that was not suppose to be there.

Prior to this year, you struck out in about a quarter of your plate appearances (hang on, there's a good part coming). But that dropped off a little bit this season. What was your approach coming into 2010, and did it change last off-season?

BB: Yeah, I know I strike out a lot, but my approach did change last off-season. I have always been a free swinger, but I had to tone that down a little bit and sit on my pitch. Sitting on my pitch helps me to stay off of off-speed pitches and pitches that are not in my part of the strike zone. When I would get to two strikes I would try and battle, fight off pitches and try to get a hit.

What are your plans this off-season? What will you be doing between now and Spring Training?

BB: My plans this off-season are to go on vacation with my wife and relax. I am also trying to go play winter ball in MEXICO, so I can get more at bats and face better pitching. I am going to work even harder than I did last off season on my body and my approach so i can have a better year than this past year and keep growing as a baseball player.

Big thanks to Brandon, and we'll check back in with him later in the off-season to see how that vacation was. And about the winter ball thing.

Seriously, Yankees?

Click this link.

What's wrong here?

Andy Pettitte threw four scoreless innings in a rehab start for Double-A Trenton. What's wrong with that? Trenton's game last night was game two of the best-of-five opening round Eastern League playoffs.

Trenton won on a walk-off in the 12th.

To his credit, New Hampshire pitcher Zach Stewart threw 7IP, 3H/0ER. But still...Pettitte in a Double-A playoff game? Lame.

Chris Wallace: Batavia "didn't stand a chance"

That's because they couldn't handle Jake Buchanan.

"I can't say enough about Jake Buchanan. He saved his best for last."

Chris Wallace:
"He had his best stuff tonight. His two-seamer and his change-up were giving them fits. He did a great job locating his pitches. They didn't stand a chance."

"My two-seam fastball was feeling pretty good. So I just tried to jam them up inside. The wind was blowing in, and I wasn't afraid to use the fastball."

Buchanan, in the Troy Record:
"I was really efficient with my pitches. They're an aggressive team, so just mostly fastballs in and they were just up there hacking, getting easy outs. They were justing playing into my hands."

It may have been the last game played in Batavia. Attendance for last night's game? 601.

News. Notes.

Borrowing the link from the previous post, we see that things are going swimmingly for Felipe Paulino, who threw a second simulated game yesterday.

"Everything is coming along well. I'll see how I feel tomorrow and what the next step is to be ready. Let me see how my arm feels tomorrow, and after that we'll see what we are going to do the next few days."

"He threw the ball very well. We were very excited about the crispness of his breaking stuff, his curveball and slider. Those were nice. When he hasn't been out there and hasn't been throwing to hitters in a long time, it was sure nice to see."

Also, Jeff Bagwell is not counting on being a first-ballot Hall of Famer when the voting takes place this winter.

"I don't put that much thought into it, but I don't expect to get into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot-type thing. It took 'Hawk' 12, 13 years and he had similar kind of numbers. It's going to be an interesting time between November and January to see what happens. As we get close to that time, I'll be thinking about it."

You can bet that we'll be all over the Hall of Fame voting this off-season, and The Constable is head over heels in love with the Hall of Fame. I don't think Bagwell is a first-ballot guy, because there are just enough douchebags who won't vote for a guy on his first year. If Cal Ripken can't be a unanimous Hall of Famer, who the hell can?

And hey, Brad Ausmus! Do you like Round Rock or Corpus? Ausmus would consider a job with the Astros once he retires at season's end:

I certainly would consider it. I played here for 10 years, and I would say my fondest memories in baseball happened in an Astros uniform."

Berry turns down Astros, goes to work for Padres

Former hitting coach Sean Berry turned down an offer to manage one of the Astros' minor-league clubs and will become the minor-league hitting instructor for the San Diego Padres.

"The Astros offered me the manager's job right after they fired me, and the Padres pretty much called me the day after that and started conversations about possibly coming to work for them. I talked to a lot of people and it worked out. The Astros were definitely involved as far as possibly coming back. I was still in contact and talking with Ed [Wade] and Ricky [Bennett] and figuring out a way to stay. It was tough."

Any comments you want to make?

Big changes for the front office, minors

The looming Triple-A battle was listed as a reason, but we're not exactly sure what prompted the following changes:

*Ricky Bennett is no longer an Assistant GM, and is now the Director of Professional Scouting.

*The former Director of Professional Scouting, Fred Nelson, is now Assistant GM/Director of Player Development.

Ed Wade downplayed the demotion angle:
"It's two good baseball guys being asked to fulfill different responsibilities. Ricky will coordinate the pro scouting and will have major league coverage himself but oversee the assignments of our guys out there...

..."Fred has been a farm director and brings a lot to the table with a different voice, and we wanted to have him come in and establish policies. There's a lot on the plate with the AAA situation. He has some hires to make and other things, so Fred has a full plate of responsibilities."

Hires, you ask? That's because the following personnel will not have their contracts renewed:

-Round Rock manager Marc Bombard
-Minor league pitching coordinator Britt Burns
-Corpus Christi manager Wes Clements
-Greeneville hitting coach Pete Rancont

NYPL Playoffs - G3 recap

Big congratulations to the Tri-City ValleyCats as they shutout Batavia in a tight, 1-0 game.

Jake Buchanan is your hero, as he threw 7IP, 3H/0ER, 6K:1BB with Mike Ness getting the final six outs, striking out three and hitting one batter.

In the bottom of the 1st, Buchanan allowed a leadoff single to Chris Edmondson, but rolled up a double play to end the threat. It went back and forth, with no batter from either team getting past first base until the top of the 4th, when Adam Bailey doubled to right, scoring Tyler Burnett - who came around from first.

And that was it. Batavia, in a style so reminiscent of my middle school years, didn't get past first base, but obviously - with a 1-0 lead - it wasn't ever safe, particularly in the 9th. With Mike Ness throwing his second inning in relief, he got Yunier Castillo to fly out to left before hitting Edmondson with the pitch, bringing up Victor Sanchez and the dreaded Nick Longmire - both of whom were hitting well over .300. Ness got Sanchez swinging, and caught Longmire looking to end the game, and the series.

The ValleyCats will play Brooklyn at home on Saturday to open the NYPL Championship.

From the Office of the County Clerk - G140: Astros v. Dodgers

Chris Johnson wins the game ALL BY HIMSELF and the Astros creep towards .500 with a 3-2 win over the Dodgers.

*The Astros improved to 67-73, and are six games under .500 for the first time since their April 30 loss to the Braves, dropping them to 8-14.

*Chris Johnson was 1x4 with a 3-run homer (the other ABs were strikeouts, and he committed an error) on the night. It was his sixth 3RBI game of the season.

*Bud Norris threw 6IP, 3H/2R (1ER), 7K:4BB. It was the first start since August 24 (three starts) that he threw a quality start, and his most strikeouts since that one time he struck out all them Pirates (14, on August 14).

*Norris came in to the game with more first-pitch strikes (247) than first-pitch balls (246). That changed with Norris throwing the FPS to just 11 of the 26 batters he faced.

*In the 15 times he threw the first-pitch ball, he threw the next pitch for a strike 12 times.

*How about Mark Melancon? He now has a six-appearance scoreless streak. And not just scoreless, but he hasn't allowed a hit since August 24 - a span of 16 batters.

*Brandon Lyon got his 14th save of the season, throwing a perfect 9th. Lyon hasn't allowed a run since the August 11 game against the Braves where he allowed five earned runs.

*Since that game (14 appearances), Lyon has allowed 13 baserunners in 15 innings. And no runs.

*Humberto Quintero got his second straight start, and responded with a 2x3 game. Since the beginning of the Pirates' series on August 13, Quintero is hitting .325.

*Pitch Count Hero: Chris Johnson (1x4) - 22 pitches in four PAs.

*Pitch Count Punk: Jeff Keppinger (1x4) and Jason Michaels (1x4) - Nine pitches in four PAs.

*Man of the Match: Chris Johnson, because if you have to get the MotM when you account for all of the runs in a win.

*Goat of the Game: Tommy Manzella - 0x4, and ended three innings - two of them by strikeout.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

More on that game-ending out at home

The Troy Record has further information on Batavia's game-ending play at the plate:

Jacke Healey, who was the one thrown out:
“I didn't see it. I picked up Panks (coaching third base) as I was coming to third and he said, ‘go hard, run hard.’ I never slowed down. When I was coming in (to the plate), the catcher was maybe two steps to the left of the plate and it looked like that's where the throw was going to take him, so if I made a good slide to the inside of the plate, I probably would have been safe. But as soon as I started to brake down and slide, he cut me off to the plate. The throw must have taken him right where I was going. I didn't even see the throw.”

“That was quite a grenede he threw in there,” ValleyCats manager Jim Pankovits said of Bergman's throw. “In hindsight, though, that was probably the only way he could throw (Healey) out, keep it out of the grass. It was obviously pretty much right on line. They had to execute right there to keep us from tying it (and they did).”

How many balls in a walk? umpires ask

There's a strange note in Batavia's coverage of last night's G2 against the ValleyCats, mainly, Andrew Robinson's bases-loaded walk in the 5th may not have actually been a walk:

There was some controversy on the call, as the Muckdogs scoreboard and many in the game believed there was only a three-ball count on Bergman. Home plate umpire Chris Tipton — the same ump who tossed most of the Muckdogs’ coaching staff last week — conferred with the other umpires on the diamond, but ultimately decided that Bergman drew the walk.

Mills for MOY?

Brian McTaggart has a post on a topic I've been thinking of for about a week now: Could Brad Mills be the Manager of the Year?

Had the Astros began the season 49-39, Mills would be one of the front-runners for NL Manager of the Year. Mills should probably still get some serious attention for this award. He's taken a team that had very little to play for after two months and has performed magic with a roster full of rookies and a few veterans who have bought into his beliefs.

He mentions Bud Black and Dusty Baker as front-runners, and it's hard to disagree with those two, particularly Black. He's kept a team with a sub-$40m payroll at the front of the NL West (for how much longer remains to be seen), and Dusty Baker has run away with the NL Central with a largely-rookie pitching staff.

But Mills better get some votes.

Should Manzella play everyday?

Zach Levine makes a pretty compelling case for Tommy Manzella getting a longer shot at the SS1 position:

After his 11 multi-hit games this year leading up to Wednesday, he always played the following game and in nine of those games, he got a hit. It might not sound like all that impressive a feat, but he only has a hit in roughly half his games — 39 of 74.

Brett Myers hearts Humberto

In Zach Levine's G139 recap, he gets a quote from Brett Myers, who says:

“Q’s been working great with me. It’s good when you can have a catcher that knows exactly how you want to pitch, and that’s why I think it’s important to have a guy that knows you.

“I talk to him before the game every time he pitches, and we follow the plan really well.”

Do the numbers play it out?


So, uh, yes.

Astros looking into Barret Loux

So the Astros, like 29 other teams, are looking into the oddly-free agent Barret Loux. That sound you hear? It's all the way from the West Coast, and is the sound of Deputy Street shrieking.

The Astros have dug into the medical history of former Stratford High School and Texas A&M pitcher Barret Loux but have not gone any farther in pursuit of the unique free agent, general manager Ed Wade said.

Game 2 Recap: Tri-City at Batavia

The ValleyCats made it interesting - real interesting - but ultimately fell short in a 5-4 series-evening loss at Batavia.

Tri-City took a 2-0 lead in the top of the 1st, after Ben Orloff's leadoff double was brought in on Tyler Burnett's groundout, and three straight walks led to a run on a bases-loaded HBP by Dan Adamson. With the bases still loaded, Mike Kvasnicka grounded out to 2nd to end the inning.

In the bottom of the 2nd, Batavia struck back with two singles and a walk, with Juan Castillo's single bringing home the Muckdogs' first run. That was it until the 5th inning, when Andrew Robinson allowed a single, HBP, walk, single, and walk to give the Muckdogs a 3-2 lead after five. Batavia added a run in the 7th and the 8th off Jason Chowning and Joan Belliard to give them a 5-2 lead going into the 9th.

Then it got interesting. With Telvin Nash pinch-hitting for Adam Bailey, Nash drew a leadoff walk, and Wilton Infante came in to run. Chris Wallace doubled to right to put runners on 2nd and 3rd with nobody out. Dan Adamson popped out, Mike Kvasnicka grounded out, scoring Infante from 3rd, and making it a 5-3 game.

Enrique Hernandez reached on an error, putting runners on 1st and 2nd with two outs, and Jacke Healey came in to run for Hernandez. Ben Orloff's two-out single scored Wallace, but the throw from Nick Longmire (we told you to keep an eye on him) relayed from Bergmann drilled Healey - the potential tying run - at home to end the game.

Batavia's 3-4 hitters of Longmire and Rodriguez are hitting .625 and .700, respectively.

The deciding Game 3 is tonight at 7:05 in Batavia.

From the Office of the County Clerk - G139: Astros @ Cubs

Brett Myers! (These openings are getting shorter and shorter) Astros win 4-0.

*Now this is just bizarre: The Astros have shutout their opponent nine times in 2010. All of them have been NL Central teams. (MIL - 3; CIN - 2; STL - 2; PIT - 1; CHC - 1)

*The win puts the Astros at 10-5 against the Cubs, meaning they have double-digit wins against three NL Central opponents (Pirates, Cardinals, and Cubs). The last time they did that was in 2004, when they had 10+ wins against FOUR NL Central opponents.

*The win also clinches their second straight road trip win, going 4-2 against the Diam''dback' and the Cubs, three games after going 6-4 on the 10-gamer.

*And once again, Brett Myers gets his 18 outs. That's 29 starts in a row with 18+ outs, going 7IP, 3H/0ER, 8K:1BB. Since July 1, Myers has thrown quality starts in 12 of 13 starts.

*Myers extends his K:BB to 157K:56BB, for a 2.80 K:BB ratio. This would be the highest ratio for him since 2007 (3.07) or the highest ratio as a starter since 2006.

*His 1.212 WHIP is exactly tied with his previous career-low, in 2005.

*Opposing starter Randy Wells threw first-pitch strikes to 19 of the 30 batters he faced. When getting that first-pitch ball, Astros hitters pnly went 3x12, K, BB, Sac (against all Cubs pitchers).

*The Astros got all their hits off Wells, with Keppinger, Johnson, Manzella, and Quintero each getting two hits (and Pence providing the other - more on that in a minute).

*Manzella's 2x4 night was his third multi-hit game in his last seven starts, a little run that began with the Mets, and has seen him raise his average from .218 to .224. He was hitting .212/.259/.254 when he went down with the finger injury on June 22, and is now hitting .224/.265/.263.

*Hunter Pence hit his 23rd homer of the season - a solo shot in the 3rd. He is now two homers off his career-high (he had 25HR in each of the last two homers), and one RBI off his career-high, set in 2008.

*Michael Bourn drew an intentional walk in the 6th to load the bases for Jeff Keppinger with one out. Keppinger brought Manzella home with an RBI groundout, but that means Bourn's on-base streak runs 18 games.

*Carlos Lee was 0x4 on the night, and he's hitting .148 (4x27) in September. His OPS is under .700 (.698, to be exact) for the first time since August 25.

*Pitch Count Hero: Brett Wallace (0x4) - 21 pitches in four PAs

*Pitch Count Punk: Carlos Lee (0x4) - 7 pitches in five PAs

*Man of the Match: Can't give it to anybody but Brett Myers

*Goat of the Game: Brett Wallace - 0x4 on the night, 0x2 w/RISP, and ended three innings.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

And your lineup for the Astros @ Cubs finale

And Zach Levine has your lineup for tonight's game against the Cubs.

1. Bourn - CF
2. Keppinger - 2B
3. Pence - RF
4. Lee - LF
5. Johnson - 3B
6. Wallace - 1B
7. Manzella - SS
8. Quintero - C
9. Myers - P

Tri-City Lineup for G2 of NYPL Playoffs

Here's your lineup for tonight's potential series-clincher at Batavia for Tri-City

1. Orloff - SS
2. Wates - LF
3. Burnett - 3B
4. Nidiffer - 1B
5. Bailey - RF
6. Wallace - C
7. Adamson - CF
8. Kvasnicka - DH
9. Hernandez - 2B

Andrew Robinson gets the start.

GCL Astros: Danilo Del Rio

Danilo Del Rio
How did he get here?: Signed as undrafted free agent prior to 2008 season
Stats: 5'11", 179 lbs, Throws: Right
Age as of April 1, 2011: 20

2010 Overview


Previous Years (2008-09)


What happened?

This was Del Rio's first year in the States, having spent 2008 in the VSL and 2009 in the DSL, and his numbers suffered accordingly - but not so much that we question his ability. For one thing, he pitched better than his 1-7 record would indicate, and it's common for a foreign-born player to have a rough first season in the States (I keep meaning to do a survey of this, but, um, haven't.).

Basically what happened is that he got hit hard, particularly in August, when opposing batters hit .361 against him in five starts, including his last start of the season (August 28), when the GCL Cardinals rocked him for 15H/7ER in 6IP. Your numbers - especially in 53.1IP - don't recover easily from that.

What went right?

Walks, or the lack thereof. He lead the starters with the fewest walks allowed in 2010. In three minor-league seasons, Del Rio has walked just a touch under two batters per nine innings, and walked right at 2.0 batters/9 this season. Given his low walks and low strikeout rate, that means he pounds the zone pretty hard, and the bats just caught up with him this season.

Pitching at home. In four home starts, Del Rio was 0-3, but with a 2.35 ERA/0.91 WHIP, with 19K:3BB. His BAA was also .209 at home, compared to pitching on the road (7.86 ERA/1.86 WHIP, .370 BAA).

What went wrong?

We've already talked about the hitability of his pitches, so he's going to need to make the ball more elusive. But he was pretty unlucky, getting tagged with a .352 BABIP this season.

Throwing against lefties. Righties hit .284 against Del Rio, which isn't great, but it certainly isn't the 22 hits lefties tagged him for in 39 outs, hitting .393. That said, only four of the 72 hits opposing batters got off Del Rio went out of the park.

Neutralized for luck, Del Rio's FIP was 3.71, so it seems like he should be able to make some strides in 2011 - maybe in Tri-City.

GCL Astros: Emmanuel Cedano

Emmanuel Cedano
How did he get here?: Signed as undrafted free agent, August 2008
Stats: 6'2", 194 lbs, Throws: Right
Age as of April 1, 2011: 22

2010 Overview


Previous Years (2009)


What happened?

Emmanuel Cedano got his start in the GCL in 2009, and it's easy to see why he repeated the GCL in 2010. As you can see, he doesn't give up a lot of hits, but his WHIP is directly attributed to his walks. Cedano fared much better this time around in the bullpen.

What went right?

Hits. He just doesn't really give them up. In 18IP in 2010, he only allowed seven hits for a .117 average. After a 2009 "season" (11 games - 8.2IP), he allowed 16 hits and 15 walks. Both those numbers came down in 2010. With runners in scoring position, he got 20 outs, and only allowed one hit.

Home games. At Osceola County Stadium, Cedano allowed 3H/2ER, 5K:2BB in 7.1IP.

What went wrong?

Walks. Those walks are just brutal. Of the 20 baserunners he allowed, 13 of them (65%) came via the four-ball way. Look at it this way: Against RHBs, he threw 15.2IP, allowing only three hits, but he walked 12. Ten of the last 14 batters to reach base against him did so via a walk.

Cedano will be 22, so I'm not sure what the future holds for him, but he's going to have to work on his command.

Albany Times-Union estimate: Chris Wallace hit a 480-foot home run

Chris Wallace's two-run homer in the 9th inning last night was estimated by the Albany Times-Union at 480 feet. Jeebus.

The linked article is a column on TC manager Jim Pankovits.

“Anybody would be lying if they said they didn’t prefer to be working in the big leagues. But if you can’t work in the big leagues … I have to admit that it is nice to have the opportunity to kind of start the development of a lot of these kids through pro ball.”

What does the future hold for Pankovits?
“Retire and play golf in Myrtle Beach. I’m starting to make that happen right now. Bought a place there last year. … But certainly I can wait a little bit longer.”

Recap: NYPL Playoffs - Game 1

Let's be thankful for Dan Adamson, who cleaned a lot of crap that had been left right there on the bedsheets. Tri-City takes Game 1 off Batavia with an 11th inning Adamson walk-off homer.

Tri-City took a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the 1st on three four consecutive hits - three singles, and a three-run homer by Marcus Nidiffer. Batavia got two back in the top of the 3rd on an RBI single and a sac fly. But Tri-City answered in the bottom half of the inning with a three-run shot by Telvin Nash.

Batavia made it a 7-3 game when Nick Longmire drove in Yunier Castillo (after Castillo had advanced to third on a passed ball). And then the wheels fell off in the top of the 6th. A leadoff double and a single to follow ended Carlos Quevedo's night, but Alex Sogard allowed both of those runs to score with another single and a double. Murillo Gouvea allowed those two runs to score - plus two more - on three singles and a wild pitch, to give Batavia a 9-7 lead after six innings.

Tri-City had runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs in the 8th, but Wates popped out, and Burnett and Nidiffer struck out swinging to end the threat. In the 9th, Oscar Figueroa drew a lead-off walk and Chris Wallace brought him home with a 2-run homer to tie the game. But that inning wasn't done as Mike Kvasnicka walked, and Dan Adamson pinch-ran for him. McCurdy - pinch-hitting for Nash - sac'ed Adamson over to second, and Ben Orloff was intentionally walked to face Wates, to flew out to center to send the game to extras.

Brian Streilein came in for the 10th inning, and promptly walked Chris Edmonson and intentionally walked Nick Longmire, bringing in Mike Ness to relieve Streilein, who got Audry Perez (I believe I dated a girl with the same name in 5th grade) to GIDP to end the inning.

Batavia left two on in the top of the 11th, and Dan Adamson (who was in the game after pinch-running for Kvasnicka) hit the walk-off with one out in the bottom of the 11th to seal Game One, 10-9.

Quevedo finished the night with 5IP, 8H/5R (4ER), 3K:1BB. Sogard and Gouvea each allowed two runs (and both ended up letting in the two runners they each inherited). Travis Blankenship (1IP, 1H, 1BB), Brandt Walker (2IP, 1H, 2BB), and Brian Streilein (0.1IP, 2BB) bridged the game to Ness, who got the win with 1.2IP, 2H/0ER, 1BB.

The top five in Batavia order went 11x24 with 4BB and 8RBI.

Austin Wates and Chris Wallace each went 3x6, with Wallace hitting the 2-run jack. Nine of the 10 runs scored by Tri-City came by way of the long ball. Ben Orloff was 2x4 with two walks.

From the Office of the County Clerk - G138: Astros @ Cubs

Bourn is on a tear, and the Astros beat the Cubs 7-3.

The win puts the Astros at 23-14 since August 1. Houston is 17-13 in their last 30 games, good enough to tie them for 4th in all of MLB.

*Nelson Figueroa threw 5IP, 6H/3ER, 5K:3BB to get his 5th win. Those five wins are a career high.

*Jeff Fulchino allowed a hit to the only batter he saw, and then Byrdak, Melancon, and Abad held the Cubs hitless, with Byrdak doing work with 3K in 2IP. Byrdak had not struck out three batters in a game since August 8, 2009, when he did it against the Brewers.

*Big congratulations go to Brett Wallace - who hit his first career homer in the 2nd off Carlos Silva. The homer tied the game 2-2. Of the 153 homers that Silva has allowed, 58 of them have either tied or been a go-ahead homer.

*According to Hit Tracker Online, Wallace's homer was the 9th-longest homer hit at Wrigley this season, at 440 feet, and the 5th-longest by an opponent. It's the 4th-longest homer hit by an Astro this season.

*Michael Bourn was 3x4 with a double, triple, stolen base, and 3RBI, extending his on-base streak to 17 games. It's Bourn's first 3RBI game since July 10, 2009, when he was 2x5 against Washington.

*Two of Bourn's 3RBI came with 2 outs. Of his 34RBI on the season, 17 of those have been with two outs. He's now one RBI off his career high of 35, set last season.

*Jason Castro was 2x4 with two runs scored. He is 11x31 in his last ten games (.355). So how about this - Castro's July OPS: .451; August OPS - .609; September OPS - .917.

*Here's something for you: Castro's 2nd hit of the night was an infield single off of Cubs' reliever Scott Maine. Why is this notable? It's his 4th hit in 39 plate appearances off of lefties, and he has a .111 average against LHP.

*Pitch Count Hero: Michael Bourn (3x4) - 25 pitches in four PAs.

*Pitch Count Punk: Carlos Lee (0x4) and Tommy Manzella (1x4) - 13 pitches in four PAs.

*Man of the Match: Michael Bourn!

*Goat of the Game: Carlos Lee - the only Astros position player to not get on base.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Bourn rated the 2nd fastest player in the Majors

Carl Crawford was elected Most Likely To Win A Footrace by 339 Major Leaguers in Sports Illustrated. 12% voted for Bourn, 9% for Andrew McCutchen and 6% for Jose Reyes.

You know what would be fun? A skills competition in the All-Star Break, where maybe, I don't know, they didn't only glorify home runs. But that's just crazy talk...

Bud Norris still has promise

ESPN's Jason Grey has an (Insider-only) article on ESPN on the promise of Bud Norris.

"I've had an opportunity over the last year to watch [Roy] Oswalt, [Brett] Myers and Wandy [Rodriguez] and how they go about their business on and off the field, and you pick up things here and there. I want to prove to this clubhouse and this team I can do it time in and time out. For me, it's about game management. You're going to get yourself into situations. It's how you get in and out of those situations. I feel stuff-wise I can go out and have four good innings, but in that fifth inning, I need to make sure I go out and have another good inning. Sometimes there's that balloon effect or snowball effect where I can make it a four-run inning instead of a two-run or one-run spot. Controlling those situations is a big part of it for me."

Fastball command has also been a problem for Norris this year. His slider has been excellent, but locating his fastball in the strike zone or at times even throwing it for strikes has been an issue. Norris needs to repeat his delivery a little better and keep his front side from flying open too soon, leaving his stuff flat and up...

...Norris doesn't have the overall numbers this season, but I'm obviously a big fan of his arm and think he has a bright future. Regardless of his eventual role, he's a pitcher I'm going to continue to monitor closely for 2011.

Pence named NL Player of the Week

Hunter Pence has been named NL Player of the Week, and it's easy to see why:

Over his last seven games, Pence was 12x27 with four extra-base hits (double, triple, 2HR), 10RBI, and five runs scored - hitting .444/.483/.778.

Round Rock was the 10th-worst minor-league team of 2010

Baseball America ranks the ten best and worst minor league teams. Round Rock had the 10th-worst winning percentage (maybe they had the 10th-best losing percentage, eh, Baseball America?) at .396. Thankfully, the New Britain Rock Cats went 44-98 to take the title.

Playoffs?! Tri-City vs. Batavia

Tonight is G1 of the NYPL Playoffs, featuring your Tri-City ValleyCats hosting the Batavia Muckdogs, NYPL affiliate of, yes, the St. Louis Cardinals. Let's do the Tale of the Tape:

Batavia: 45-29, 8-2 in their last ten games.
Tri-City: 38-36, 6-4 in their last ten games.

Batavia posted a .273/.352/.400 line in 74 games (the AVG and SLG were 2nd in the League, while their OBP was first). Tri-City posted a .244/.321/.361 line, for an OPS 71 points lower than the Muckdogs.

However, it's Tri-City who had the better year from the pitching staff. Tri-City's 3.43 ERA was third in the NYPL (Batavia - 3.85) while their WHIPs are comparable - Tri-City: 1.30; Batavia: 1.32.

Tri-City's pitching staff enjoyed a 2.90 K:BB ratio, while Batavia came in at 2.34. The ValleyCats did give up a league-worst 49 homers, with Batavia allowing 12 fewer round-trippers.

Head-to-Head: Batavia took the only series meeting between the two this season, 2-1, July 4-6. Tri-City won the first game 8-6, and dropped the second game 9-6, and the third game 5-4.

Batavia players to keep an eye on:

2010 5th Round pick Nick Longmire - OF: .287/.372/.483. 25 of his 76 hits have been for extra-bases.

2009 17th Round pick Jonathan Rodriguez - 1B: .258/.337/.500. His 12 homers have him tied for third in the NYPL. Comes in to the playoffs hitting .381/.422/.786 in his last ten games.

Game 1 Starting Pitcher John Gast: In eight games (last six have been starts), he has a 1.54 ERA / 1.00 WHIP, with 36K:8BB in 35IP.

Reaction to the end of the Legends' season

Mark Maloney has some reaction to the end of the Lexington Legends' season - their best since 2006.

Lexington finished among the league's top three teams in batting average, hits, runs, RBI, walks and on-base percentage, and had the fewest strikeouts. However, the Legends also led the league in runners left on base.

"There was just some timely hitting that we needed that we didn't get," hitting coach Stubby Clapp said.

Jake Goebbert, who set a franchise record in RBIs and doubles:
"My biggest focus when I'm hitting is just driving balls in the gaps. And every time I walk into the box, I try to open my eyes, see the open parts of the field, especially the gaps and the holes in the infield."

It seems like everyone's relieved the Astros are out of central Texas

Avery Holton has your immediate reaction to the end of Round Rock's 2010 season.

The Round Rock Express, the most successful professional sports team in the Austin area, lost Monday to end their second-worst season in franchise history but left the field to the applause of staffers and fans who have a new sense of optimism about the future...For the record, the Express, who haven't posted a winning record since 2006, finished last in the 16-team Pacific Coast League with a 4-0 loss to an Albuquerque, N.M., team playing for beer money.

Manager Marc Bombard, who doesn't seem too pleased:
"It's pretty disappointing. The players are disappointed, the staff's disappointed, but you do the best with what you have."

Reid Ryan:
"Fans here don't necessarily care who the team is connected to, but they do care about the players and about enjoying the game. That's tough to do when your team isn't winning."

Random Season Ticket Holder:
"I think we're ready for a change. I haven't heard a single season ticket holder complain about the move. I just think everyone's ready for something new."

Meanwhile, we get some possible clues as to where the Astros' Triple-A team will play next year:
Houston is expected to sign a player development contract with the Nashville Sounds, making the Music City the Astros' new Triple-A home next season. Milwaukee, currently the parent club for Nashville, is expected to take over the vacant spot in Oklahoma City.

Kaz Matsui is sad

Kaz Matsui is predictably upset about how his 2010 went:

"I never expected to finish the season this way. I played hard to return to the majors. It's disappointing and it's sad," Matsui said in Colorado Springs, the home of the Rockies' Triple-A affiliate.

Asked if he could play in Japan again, the 34-year-old said, "Of course. As a ballplayer, I want to play every day. The question is whether some club needs me."

Is it possible? Let's let Jerry Seinfeld answer this question...

Paulino still not 100%

In the Notes Column today, we learn that, not only are the Cubs not making the field available tomorrow for Paulino's simulated game (with no explanation listed. Jerks.), but he's still not 100%.

"I feel all right; not 100 percent. I don't want to hurry up. I want to take it day by day."


Also, Matt Lindstrom is okay with not being the closer for the rest of 2010:

"Maybe next year. Right now it's not really a goal of mine, considering we only have 25 games left. I just want to be a factor...

...It goes from knowing when you're going to throw to not knowing when you're going to throw, so it's a little bit different. But I just want to keep throwing up zeroes and finish the year strong."

Austin Wates "could be a really good center fielder"

Zach Levine's Minor League Notebook has some info in it, notably regarding Austin Wates:

Wates credited some of his success with the bat to the fact that he remained at Virginia Tech as the two months went by from the draft until his signing. He kept up his work in the university's strength training program and kept hitting.

"I feel like I could be a really good center fielder some day, but I'm going to do whatever they have me do."

Wates will head to the Instructional League this fall.

The Hooks reflect on their 2010

Honorary Citizen Greg Rajan gets some reflection on Corpus' 2010.

The Hooks ended their season with five consecutive losses. In a way that was only fitting, since a losing streak ended up being the defining mark of their campaign — and something they couldn’t get around in the end.

Jon Gaston:
“(The losing streak) is something we’re unfortunately going to have our name attached to. But we’re also going to have some good things as well — Koby (Clemens’) good year, we had some good pitchers. There were a lot of good individual aspects. You’re going to have ups and downs, but we put it together as best we could.”

Manager Wes Clements:
It’s hard sometimes because our job is development. It’s tough, although our fan base is very knowledgeable here and they’re fully aware that development is a part of it, in spite of the wins and losses. We all want to win, and they want to win, too. But the bottom line is to get people better and get them to the big leagues better. We’ve accomplished quite a bit of that this year.”

Koby Clemens:
“From the defensive standpoint, I think it was more than anybody could expect. I felt like I was pretty comfortable at first and made a lot of good plays over there. From spring training to now, it’s a huge jump forward. I feel very comfortable over there. On the offensive side, the power numbers looked good, but the average (.241) was a little down, with a lot of strikeouts. There are positives, but also room for improvement."

Want to know how the ValleyCats made the playoffs?

Here is an excellent post-mortem on the ValleyCats' chase for the playoffs. Read the whole thing - it's well worth your time - but here's an excerpt:

In the end, the ValleyCats won with incredible pitching. Their 17-11 August was fueled by a 2.56 ERA and 81 runs allowed, both best in the league. Vermont, meanwhile, posted a 5.45 ERA while allowing 159 runs in August, going just 9-17 to blow a seven-game lead. Connecticut fared slightly better on that end, allowing 119 runs with a 3.57 ERA, but hit a league-low .212 for the month.

All five regular starters had a terrific month, posting ERAs below 3.00. David Martinez, a mid-season conversion from the bullpen, fared the best, allowing just four earned runs in 30.1 innings and fanning a team-high 31 batters. Bobby Doran (3-1, 2.41) and Jake Buchanan (2-3, 2.97) rebounded from slow starts with strong months, while Carlos Quevedo (3-1, 2.97) and Andrew Robinson (2-2, 2.74) continued excellent seasons in August. On the other side, the mid-month additions of Marcus Nidiffer (.317/.386/.540 in August) and Austin Wates (.368/.500/.474 in 19 at-bats) boosted an offense that saw some of its regulars drop off a bit, while the arm of Chris Wallace (14/25 CS with Tri-City) proved a valuable asset behind the plate.

Eddie's Farm: September 6

We'll have game recaps of the Tri-City/Batavia playoff series (look for a preview later today), but this marks the final Eddie's Farm of the season. Which makes me a little sad. And for the last time ever (thanks, Nolan), we lead with...

Round Rock

It just didn't click as Round Rock got shutout by Albuquerque 4-0. Josh Banks threw 7IP, 7H/4ER, 8K:0BB; Gary Majewski threw 1IP, 1H/0ER, 1K:0BB, and Roy Corcoran threw a perfect 9th. (Interestingly enough, Geoff Geary threw the 8th inning for the Isotopes, striking out two and allowing no runs.) Jack Shuck, Collin DeLome, Edwin Maysonet, Brandon Barnes (SB), and John Curtis provided your hits, with Maysonet getting the lone XBH - a double.

Man of the Match: Jack Shuck. A hit, and an outfield assist from CF to home plate.


San Antonio took a 2-0 lead and coasted to a 6-2 win over Corpus. Erick Abreu threw 8IP, 11H/6R (5ER), 4K:2BB and Evan Englebrook struck out two in 1IP. J.D. Martinez was 2x3 with a double (final AVG at Corpus - .302), Koby Clemens hit his 26th homer of the season, and Jon Gaston hit his 13th.

Man of the Match: Koby Clemens


Rancho Cucamonga took a 4-0 lead after the top of the 1st and rode it out for an 11-4 win over Lancaster. Mike Modica got the start, going 4IP, 3H/4R (2ER), 3K:1BB. Brandt Walker allowed 1ER in 2IP, Jose Trinidad allowed 4ER in 1IP, Kyle Godfrey gave up two unearned runs, and David Berner was the only pitcher to escape without any damage. Jay Austin was 2x4 with a double, RBI, and his 54th stolen base of the season. Mark Ori hit a solo homer, and Andy Simunic and Rene Garcia added the other hits.

Man of the Match: Jay Austin


Lexington withstood a late rally for a 6-5 win over Rome. Luis Cruz was dealing, throwing 6IP, 2H/3ER, 8K:2BB. Wander Alvino threw 2IP, 0H/0ER, 1K:0BB, and Kirk Clark got an ugly save, allowing 2H/2ER, 1K:1BB in 1IP. Renzo Tello was 3x3 with two doubles, Jimmy Paredes was 2x4 with a walk and 2RBI, and Jake Goebbert was 2x5 with a stolen base and an RBI - finishing the season with a franchise record 98RBI.

Man of the Match: Jake Goebbert!

Monday, September 6, 2010

GCL Astros: Kristian Bueno

Kristian Bueno
How did he get here?: Signed as free agent, July 2010
Stats: 6'2", 195 lbs, Throws: Left
Age as of April 1, 2011: 22

2010 Overview


Career (2007-10)


What happened?

Corpus Christi native Bueno was the Brewers' 9th Round pick in 2007, and didn't progress beyond Rookie League in Milwaukee's system before being released. He had two tryouts with the Astros in July, and was signed on July 25, where he got in eleven games for the GCL Astros, posting career bests in ERA, K/9, and H/9.

What went right?

To say he's 21, it all went pretty well. That said, his away splits were pretty good. In five away games (7IP), Bueno allowed five hits and two earned runs, and a batting average-against of .227 - far lower than the .343 BAA at home.

Keeping the ball in the park. Bueno didn't allow a home run in his short stint with the GCL Astros. He's only allowed one homer since 2007 - 79.2IP. He also posted a 2.22 groundout:flyout ratio.

What went wrong?

Walks. While Bueno struck out 14 batters in 15.2IP, he also walked eight. However, he cut the BB/9 rate from 7.1 in 2009 to 4.3 in 2010.

Not sure if Bueno goes to Greeneville in 2011, or if he goes straight to Lexington/Lancaster due to his age, but while Bueno falls under our new 10+ appearances rule, he was a nice late-season pick up by the Astros.

Blum wants to come back in 2011

But only to Houston, reports Brian McTaggart.

Blum, who has half the vote on his $1.65m mutual option for 2011:
"I think I'm at the mercy of the ballclub. It's been a rough year for me physically for whatever reason. Some people are going to blame age, but I think mentally, I still have game left. I'm at the point in my career I have to run it by the family. I've got girls in school, a wife that has been putting up with me for the last 12 years, so it's something when the season ends we have to talk about. But I'd be more than happy to be an Astro again. I think if I plan on coming next year, it will definitely be as an Astro."

McTaggart, who notes:
Blum is quite valuable; not only because of his versatility, but because of the veteran leadership quality he brings to the Astros' increasingly young clubhouse.

Would you exercise or decline his option?

From the Office of the County Clerk - G137: Astros @ Cubs

Wilton Lopez' rough ride continues, and the Astros fall to the Cubs 5-4.

*In 7IP, Wandy Rodriguez gave up 8H/4ER, with 6K:1BB. The eight hits were more than he had allowed in his previous two starts, and the four earned runs equalled the number he had allowed in his previous four starts.

*It was the most hits and earned runs Wandy had given up since July 19 - also at Wrigley.

*Lopez gave up an 8th inning homer to Geovany Soto, marking the fourth time in his last six outings that he has allowed an earned run. He has allowed two homers in his last six games, and the homer on August 24 was the first he had allowed since May 7.

*Having not taken a loss all season through August, Lopez is 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA/9.00 WHIP in two September games. Still, what's remarkable is that Lopez hasn't walked a batter since July 23 - 21 appearances.

*What killed the Astros was what some consider to be clutch hitting. The Astros were 2x11 w/RISP. Pence and Keppinger had your lone hits w/RISP, and even they were 1x3 and 1x2, respectively. Wandy was 0x2 w/RISP, though it's hard to hold it against him.

*Michael Bourn was 2x3 with two walks and his 46th stolen base of the year. He's 21x59 (.356) since August 22.

*Matt Downs was 1x2 with a walk in his Houston debut, and it was his first Major League game since June 13, when he was 1x3 with San Francisco against Oakland.

*Pitch Count Hero: Michael Bourn (2x3, 2BB) - 25 pitches in five PAs.

*Pitch Count Punk: Jason Castro (1x3, BB) - 12 pitches in four PAs.

*Man of the Match: Going with Michael Bourn here - got on base four out of five times today.

*Goat of the Game: Wilton Lopez. Unless someone has a better suggestion.

This concludes the Position Player portion of the GCL Astros

Alright, we're now done with the position player portion of the In Review series for the GCL Astros.

Apologies to Ronald Sanchez (1B - .132/.191/.160), who just missed the cut by playing in 31 games.

We'll move into the GCL Astros pitchers later today, but did want to make a note about who we're considering. Previously, we said we would only consider pitchers who racked up 33 innings (a half-inning for each team game). But that means we would only cover six pitchers. So we're bumping that up to 33IP or 10+ appearances.

GCL Astros: Garen Wright

Garen Wright
How did he get here?: Drafted (29th Round), 2009
Stats: 6'3" 230 lbs, Bats: Right Throws: Right
Age as of April 1, 2011: 20
Position: OF

2010 Overview


What happened?

When Wright was drafted in the 29th Round last year, Bobby Heck was pretty jazzed about Wright:
His size and athleticism are very intriguing. He turned down multiple Division I basketball scholarship offers. He also turned down multiple Division I baseball scholarships. He wanted to get out and play. He's a not a fast-track guy. He's more of a developmental players. We're excited about his tools and upside. It's fair to say he wasn't treated like a 29th rounder.

Those tools and upside have yet to appear, though he did have somewhat of a better year in 2010 than he did in 2009.

2009 stats


So every slash line category improved, and he cut down on his strikeouts by almost 7%, but he still only posted a .582 OPS. Unfortunately, his low average was marked by a fairly robust .304 BABIP, and 68.1% of his contact was on the ground.

Wright played 22 of his 36 games in the field at LF, and the other 14 in RF, committing two errors in 45 chances with three outfield assists.

What went right?

Stolen bases. Wright stole four bases in 2009, and upped that to 14 in 2010 (getting caught six times, for a 70% success rate).

Hitting w/RISP. Wright had a bases empty OPS of .517, which moved to .654 with runners on, but hit .324/.455/.382 in 34 ABs w/RISP.

Hitting on the road. His .623 road OPS may tell you otherwise, but it's a pretty dramatic improvement over last year's road OPS of .379.

What went wrong?

Power. It's disconcerting that a guy his size has only hit one homer in two seasons in the Gulf Coast League, and has a .248 SLG in 273 PAs over two seasons.

Overall batting. Heck said he was more of a developmental player. I'll be curious to see how long the Astros plan on seeing him develop.

GCL Astros: Jordan Scott

Jordan Scott
How did he get here?: Drafted (14th Round), 2010
Stats: 6'2" 180 lbs, Bats: Left Throws: Right
Age as of April 1, 2011: 19
Position: LF

2010 Overview


What happened?

Scott was drafted out of Riverside High School in South Carolina, where his coach described him as a five-tool player with room for growth on his frame. He'll be 19 on September 22.

Jordan Scott led the team in hits (44), batting average, OBP, and SLG, so he had a pretty good year. So good, in fact, that we named him the GCL Astros Employee of the Year.

Scott played 26 games in left field, and 13 games in center field - going the whole season without committing an errors, and recording three outfield assists, as well.

What went right?

Hitting the ball. Scott hit a lot of ground balls (56.2% at last count - about a week before the season ended), and his .388 BABIP indicates that a lot of those balls found holes. Pause for chuckling.

Specifically, hitting left-handed pitching. In 31 ABs against lefties, Scott had twelve hits, two for extra-bases, for a .943 OPS. That dropped to .686 in 115 ABs against RHPs.

Road hitting. Scott hit .346/.424/.383 in 22 road games, compared to .246/.306/.354 in 20 home games.

And August happened. Scott opened the season 0x8 in June, then hit .242/.314/.306 in July, and put it all together over the last 20 games of the season, hitting .382/.440/.461 in August. In his last ten games, he hit .385/.442/.513.

What went wrong?

Strikeouts. Scott struck out in an even 20% of his PAs - 21.7% of his ABs against RHP.

"Clutchity." With the bases empty, Scott hit .337/.394/.411. With runners on that dropped to .235/.333/.294 (with a 29.4% K/AB rate), and further to .219/.297.313 w/RISP (and a 37.5% K/AB rate). Was he pressing? Methinks yes.

Given that he fared as well as he did - even with such a high BABIP, he'll grow in to his frame over the off-season, and should be playing in Greeneville next year.

From the Office of the County Clerk: Pedro Feliz edition

Because I feel bad for barbecuing all yesterday afternoon/evening and not doing a game recap, here's a mulligan:

*Pedro Feliz was traded to St. Louis following an August 18 loss to the Mets.

*Though he hadn't started regularly since the end of June, the Astros were 39-58 in his appearances.

*From Opening Day until he lost his starting job to Chris Johnson on June 30, the Astros were 30-48 (.385 Win%). Since June 30, the Astros are 34-24 (.586).

*From Opening Day until acquiring Pedro Feliz, the Cardinals were 65-53 (.550). Since acquiring Feliz, the Cardinals are 6-10 (.375).

*This means that, with Feliz making an appearance, his team's winning percentage is .383. Without him, his team's winning percentage is .562.

Obviously, he's just one man on a 25-man team, but the numbers - as usual - are hard to ignore.

Paulino to throw another simulated game

It seems as though Mills knows what they're going to do with Felipe Paulino when/if he returns from the DL, but they want to see how his next simulated game will go, on Wednesday.

"He showed up OK (Sunday) and feels good. If you're going to ask me how we'll use him going forward, I'm going to bag out of that a little and say we'll wait and see what happens after this next simulated game. Are we going to put him in the rotation or use him out of the pen? Well, I know which way we're leaning, but I don't want to divulge that right now because I want to talk to him first."

I don't see any much harm in having him go to the bullpen for a few appearances, if his arm is responding, but I would also be more comfortable shutting him down and getting him back up to strength in the off-season.

Your rotation in 2011 looks as such: Myers, Happ, Wandy, Norris and coming down to Paulino/Lyles/Moehler for SP5. I would think - barring any unforeseen acquisitions - that Paulino has the inside track, with Moehler as option two. But if Lyles comes out dealing in Spring Training, it could be a tight race.

The ValleyCats' reaction to the playoffs

The Albany Times-Union has some nice reaction from the ValleyCats regarding their playoff berth.

Marcus Nidiffer:
"We caught wind in the dugout. All the coaches started smiling and everyone was shaking hands. That's when we knew."

Manager Jim Pankovits:
"I was coaching in the third-ase box. I looked over and everyone had grins on their faces and were shaking hands and patting each other on the back. I knew what was up."

Ben Orloff:
"It's been tough for us. To come back from 10 games out or so, it's great. Everybody wants a chance to win a championship at the beginning of the season and that's where we're at right now."

Writer Bryan Fitzgerald:
Just six weeks ago, a playoff berth was a nothing more than a pipe dream for Tri-City. The ValleyCats were 9.5 games out of first on July 19th, but went on the finish the regular season with a record of 27-15 over their last 42 games.

Those 27 wins are as many as the ValleyCats have had in two out of their last three seasons. They finished in the cellar of the Stedler Division each of the past three seasons, winning just 27 games in 2007 and 2009 and 28 in 2008.

"These last two or three weeks, every game has been a gut-wrencher. These kids have responded unbelievably."

Reid Ryan: Hill Country fans want a change

Round Rock CEO Reid Ryan says that the fans are interested in an affiliation change, as the season comes to a merciful end today.

"Our fans have expressed interest in a change, so we have to listen to that. There are a lot of parts to putting together a good experience, and winning on a consistent basis is a big component of that."

Express GM Dave Fendrick:
"We've certainly had a lot of questions about a possible change, but we can't confirm anything until the season's over."

Avery Holton:
Signs of the switch could begin as early as this afternoon, when Round Rock is expected to file its intent to change affiliations with Minor League Baseball, according to a source close to the team.

So way to go, Express fans. Because you can't handle losing, you're going to miss out on watching the future of the Astros 72 times a year. Go cry me a freaking river, and pop that teat out of your mouth.

Eddie's Farm: September 5

Going a little out of order today, leading with the Tri-City ValleyCats, who are heading to the NYPL playoffs after Connecticut lost to Aberdeen in 13 innings.


That means it didn't matter that Brooklyn answered a Tri-City 4-run 5th with the game-winning run in the bottom of the inning. Brooklyn wins 6-5. David Martinez lasted 3.2IP, 8H/5ER, 2K:0BB. Travis Blankenship took the loss, giving up 1H/1ER, 1K:2BB in 1.1IP. Brian Streilein, Joan Belliard, and Adam Champion threw scoreless innings. Ben Orloff (SB), Adam Bailey (3B, RBI), and Telvin Nash (3B) had two hits each. Tyler Burnett (2RBI) and Mike Kvasnicka added RBIs, and Marcus Nidiffer stole a base.

Man of the Match: The ValleyCats as a team win this. Congratulations on a job well done.

Round Rock

Jordan Lyles finished up his Triple-A stint winless, but pitched well in his season-finale. Albuquerque wins 3-2. Lyles threw 76 pitches in 5IP, 8H/3ER, 3K:1BB. Jonah Bayliss struck out four in two perfect innings, and Casey Daigle allowed 2H/0ER, 1K:1BB in 2IP. John Curtis was 2x4 with a double, and Brandon Barnes hit his first Triple-A homer in addition to drawing a walk. Drew Locke was 1x2 with 2BB.

Man of the Match: Brandon Barnes!


Corpus Christi didn't get a hit until Wladimir Sutil singled to lead off the 8th inning. So you can imagine how this game went. San Antonio wins 3-1 behind Erik Davis' 8IP, 1H/0ER, 10K:2BB performance. Not that Polin Trinidad didn't throw well, himself: 6IP, 10H/3R (2ER), 4K:3BB. Shane Wolf struck out two in two scoreless innings, and Matt Nevarez struck out the side in the 9th. We already mentioned Sutil's hit, and that was all the offense. Albert Cartwright was 0x4 with 3K, but David Cook, Koby Clemens, and J.D. Martinez drew walks.

Man of the Match: Polin Trinidad.


Rancho Cucamonga took an 8-2 lead after three innings, but Lancaster scored three in the 7th and two in the 8th to send it to extra-innings. Upon which RC scored three runs in the top of the 10th for the 13-10 win over Lancaster. Kyle Greenwalt threw 3IP, 10H/8R (5ER), 1K:0BB. Ashton Mowdy allowed 3H/2ER in 3IP. David Berner and Kyle Godfrey held the Quakes hitless in an inning each, and David Carpenter took the loss with 2IP, 4H/3ER. Lee Cruz was 4x6 with a double and a homer, Brian Pellegrini was 3x6 with a homer and 3RBI, and David Flores was 3x5 with a double and an RBI. Jonathan Villar added a three-run homer. Jay Austin was 2x4 with 2BB, and Jose Altuve was 1x4 with 2BB.

Man of the Match: Brian Pellegrini


Lexington enjoyed a 5-run 3rd inning to pace a 9-3 win over Rome. Colton Pitkin threw 5IP, 7H/3R (2ER), 5K:1BB. Brad Dydalewicz threw 2IP, 1H/0ER, 2K:2BB and Yordany Ramirez walked one, but allowed no hits in 2IP. Jake Goebbert was 3x4 with two doubles, a stolen base, and 2RBI. Grant Hogue (2RBI) Kody Hinze (2RBI) and Jonathan Meyer (SB, RBI) were each 2x4.

Man of the Match: Jake Goebbert