Saturday, September 25, 2010

Greeneville Astros: Marcus Nidiffer

Marcus Nidiffer
How did he get here?: Signed as undrafted free agent (2010)
Stats: 6'2" 200 lbs, Bats: Right Throws: Right
Hometown/Birthplace: Bristol, TN
Age as of April 1, 2011: 24
Position: 1B
2010 Men of the Match: 7

2010 Overview

(Cumulative: Greeneville + Tri-City)

What happened?

The Astros signed Nidiffer on June 14 out of Kentucky, where he was the starting catcher, and hit .284/.377/.512 for the Wildcats (.320 as a senior)

He joined the Gastros in time for the beginning of the season, and pretty much killed it right from the start, going 42x131 in June and July. Seven of his first ten hits were for extra-bases (five doubles, two homers). He spent 48 games with Greeneville, hitting .303/.393/.588 with a .361 BABIP.

Nidiffer was promoted to Tri-City in August, where he hit .250/.326/.425 in 21 games for the ValleyCats, and hit the game-sealing homer in G1 of the NYPL Championship against Brooklyn.

What went right?

The first half of the season. Nidiffer's first 131 ABs, he hit .321 with 19 XBHs (10 doubles, 1 triple, eight homers).

Hitting late. In the 7th inning or later, Nidiffer hit .321.

Non-ground balls. For this season, only 38.3% of his in-play balls were grounders. He hit 16% line drives, and 45.6% fly balls.

Not hitting into GIDPs. In 107 ABs with runners on, Nidiffer only hit into one GIDP.

What went wrong?

That second half. In August and September, Nidiffer hit - between Greenville and Tri-City - .229 (30x131), including a 2x33 stretch in September, before the playoffs started. Both hits were homers.

Hitting w/RISP. Nidiffer was 10x58, for a .172/.278/.276 line w/RISP. His OPS with runners on is much better (.947), so I'm not sure what the problem was.

Appy Astros says:
Nidiffer played a solid first base, only making 4 errors on the season. He wasn't spectacular but he improved as the season progressed...Those close to the team gave Nidiffer high marks for his character and leadership as well. He will have a tough road to climb to make it very far in the system. His age and his status as a NDFA are working against him.

Even though he didn't fare so well in Tri-City, given his age, I'd like to see him in Lexington, and if he does well, he'll need to be in Lancaster by the end of the season. Let's hope he was a steal in the draft.

Phil Rogers: Lee to 1B would mean Bogusevic to LF

In Phil Rogers' tawdry Baseball Whispers column, he tells us what to expect if the Astros move Carlos Lee to 1B:

The Astros are giving serious consideration to moving Carlos Lee to first base to open up an outfield spot for De La Salle product Brian Bogusevic, who was drafted as a pitcher. Lee at first could mean the much traveled Brett Wallace (hitting .208 in 46 games) is on the move again.

If Wallace is on the move, it'll be to Oklahoma City. That's it.

Astros extend Mills, other coaches

The Astros have extended the contracts of Brad Mills, Brad Arnsberg, Dave Clark, Bobby Meacham, Al Pedrique, and Jamie Quirk to a two-year extension.

"We are extremely pleased with the jobs that all of our coaches have done this year. Brad Mills has set a great tone and the coaches have worked hand-in-hand with Millsie to make sure that the structure works, that the players are well-prepared and that we are taking advantage of every opportunity to get better. They all are true professionals."

Perhaps you noticed one prominent name missing: that of hitting coach Jeff Bagwell. What about it, Wade?
"When Jeff accepted the hitting coach's job during the season, he did so with an understanding that we would both have a chance to reassess the situation at season's end. We have clearly stated to Baggy that we want him to continue in the job and he wants to make sure that his family is on board before committing."

We couldn't be happier about this.

Greeneville Astros: Telvin Nash

Telvin Nash
How did he get here?: Drafted, 2009 (3rd Round)
Stats: 6'1" 230 lbs, Bats: Right Throws: Right
Hometown/Birthplace: Griffin, GA
Age as of April 1, 2011: 20
Position: LF
2010 Men of the Match: 8

2010 Overview

(Cumulative: Greeneville + Tri-City)



What happened?

2010 was probably more what the Astros thought they were getting when drafting Nash in the 3rd round last year.

As we mentioned last year, it took Nash a little while to get going - 15 of his 31 hits in 2009 came in August, and he picked up about where he left off.

His strongest month of the 2010 season came in July, when he hit .273/.367/.610, with a perfectly lucky .302 BABIP, and he was hitting .265/.348/.515 when he got sent up to Tri-City to help with the playoff push.

In Tri-City, he made an immediate impact, hitting .308 with a .769 SLG (three of his four regular-season hits were for extra-bases).

In his 2009 recap, we discussed his less-than-stellar defense in left field, and that carried over to this year as Nash committed seven errors for an .891 Fld%. However, the Astros have shown the willingness to pay heavy-hitting/poor-defending left fielders over $100 million. So I wouldn't worry too much about it.

Nash led the Gastros in hits (with Chris Wallace), home runs (12), RBIs (39), total bases (103), and was named Team MVP by the Gastros.

What went right?

Hitting lefties. Nash couldn't hit much of anybody last year, but he posted a .217/.315/.326 line against LHP in 2009. This year, however, benefitting from a .388 BABIP, he hit .300/.345/.588 against lefties.

July. Nash was 21x77 with two doubles and eight homers in July, hitting .273/.367/.610.

Starting pitching. Nash blew up opposing starting pitchers in 2010. While his OPS against relievers was .597, he hit the starters to the tune of .342/.417/.658 for a 1.075 OPS.

What went wrong?

Not much. But if we're going to pick a couple of things, one would be hitting late in games. In the 7th-end innings, Nash was 5x62 with 28K:6BB. This is incredible, as in the 1st-3rd innings, he was 23x69 and in the 4th-6th innings, he was 25x69.

Hitting RHP. He still had a robust .817 OPS against RHP, but hit .242/.350/.467 with 38K:20BB.

Appy Astros says:
His arm is not impressive. He takes interesting routes to balls. On the bright side, he was better this year than last year. He only made one more error this year than last year in twice as many chances... If he shows improvement over the instructional league time and in spring training, I could see him in Lexington.

Hard to disagree with that. I'd like to see the Astros push him to Lexington, as he'll be 20 on Opening Day 2011. Tri-City is a possibility, but he's had two seasons of short-season experience, let's see how he does in a 140+ game season.

Bourgeois knows his role, wants to fill it here; Castro focusing on adjustments

In McTaggart's Notebook, we find that Bourgeois realizes he's probably going to be OF4 anywhere, and would rather do that in Houston.

"I would love to come back here. It's the No. 1 place I (want) to be. The role I would be in would be a fourth outfielder coming off the bench, and I'd rather do it here at home. I haven't talked to them yet, but we'll see when the season ends. I'm playing right now and am focusing on that and will deal with the rest later."
We also hear from Brad Mills on the effort of Jason Castro:
"He's done a real good job. We've talked about his aptitude for the game and his willingness and desire to learn. When he got to the big leagues [in June], he had to learn a full pitching staff, and that was amazing. Offensively, it's going to be a continuing learning process for him...

...You try to give [rookies] as many at-bats as you can to give them the opportunity to see where they are, how much of a learning process it's going to take, until they become the kind of hitter they're capable of becoming."

This is echoed in Zach Levine's Notes Column. Castro:
"Coming into this year, there were some adjustments that I tried to make and they never really took hold. It's just part of the game, making adjustments and seeing how they work, and if not, you go from there. I think I'm kind of at the point where I tried to make some adjustments and they weren't necessarily successful for me, so I'm moving on and staying positive. I've definitely learned a lot...

..."That's what I need is to take time and pound things out without having to implement them in the game right away, so this offseason's going to be really big for me as far as really fine-tuning some things."

Over his last 28 days, Castro is hitting .244/.320/.311 for a .631 OPS - 57 points higher than his 2010 total. The problem is facing lefties. Castro is hitting an astounding 3x39 (.077/.143/.103) with a .115 BABIP against LHP. Also - and this, I imagine, will come with time, but if he's going to get a hit, it's probably going to be the first time he sees the pitcher. His OPS declines from .615 to .612 to .523 as he faces the same pitcher, respectively.

From the Office of the County Clerk - G154: Astros @ Pirates

At some point we'll have to stop noting that Myers threw 6IP, right? Because at this point, it's about as silly as saying, "Hunter Pence had another at-bat." Astros win 10-7.

*So, we might as well go ahead and say that Brett Myers threw another outing of 6IP. Thanks to the offense, he got the win (more on that later) - which tied his career high of 14 wins, set in 2003.

*Myers' 6IP put him at 218IP - also a career-high, besting his previous 215.1IP in 2005. He has now thrown 148IP more than in 2009.

*He allowed 6H/5ER, 1K:4BB, and a solo home run. The 5ER are the most he's allowed since June 29, when he gave up 7ER at Milwaukee. He had allowed 4ER in his previous five starts combined (34IP).

*So what the heck happened? Garrett Jones happened. He had an RBI groundout in the bottom of the 1st, a two-run double in the 3rd, and a sac fly in the 5th. It was Jones' 20th multi-RBI game of the season.

*Fernando Abad allowed a triple to Garrett Jones in the 7th, and Pedro Alvarez hit a sac fly to score him. It was the first time Abad had allowed a run since September 10 (6 appearances).

*Wilton Lopez got in a game for the first time (also) since September 10, having allowed runs in five of his last eight starts. He emerged unscathed from the 8th inning, allowing a hit, but retiring four batters on seven pitches.

*And rounding out the pitching, Brandon Lyon got his 19th save, one shy of his second 20-save season in his career. Lyon also threw a scoreless 9th, giving him three straight 0ER outings - the first time since Sept 5-10.

*All in all, the Pirates got nine hits, four of them for extra bases, and their 100th loss of the season. 2010 is their 6th straight 90+ loss season, but their first 100-loss season since 2001.

*Aside from a typical 0x4 from Carlos Lee, playing LF (he must have lost concentration), every position player got a hit. To be fair, Lee did draw a walk, so he got on base, too. It's his 36th hitless night of 4ABs or more of the season. Going back to the 2nd game of the Nationals series, Lee has one hit in his last 15 ABs.

*Hunter Pence brought the big bat, going 3x5 with 3RBI, and 2x3 w/RISP. Since the All-Star Break, Pence has hit .306/.341/.514, an OPS increase over his pre-ASB split of 112 points.

*Jeff Keppinger was 3x4 w/2RBI on the night in the #5 spot, increasing his September line to .351/.420/.416. He also has increased his 2nd half OPS 100+ points (106, to be exact), from .720 to .826.

*Brett Wallace was able to shake off the rust and get two hits - his first multi-hit game since September 12 against the Dodgers, and matching his hit total from his previous four starts.

*The Astros got 15 hits on the night - but 13 singles. On the season, 28.6% of their hits have been for extra-bases. The Reds - just as an example (because they lead the NL in SLG) - have enjoyed extra bases in 34.1% of their hits.

*Still, the 15 hits are the 3rd-most of the season, and the Astros are 12-0 when getting 13+ hits.

*The Astros have gone three games without a home run, the first time since August 29-31.

*Pitch Count Hero: Jason Bourgeois (1x5, BB) - 30 pitches in six PAs.

*Pitch Count Punk: Hunter Pence (3x5) - 14 pitches in five PAs.

*Man of the Match: I think Pence is a fair nod here, don't you think?

*Goat of the Game: Carlos Lee.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Troy Patton's Incredible Facebook Story

Maybe you knew this already. We sure didn't. The Baltimore Sun has the incredible story of Troy Patton and his long-lost sister.

Lineup for G154: Astros @ Pirates

Alyson Footer has your lineup for tonight's game against the Pirates.

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

Greeneville Astros: Jonathan Merritt

Jonathan Merritt
How did he get here?: Signed as undrafted free agent
Stats: 5'8" 160 lbs, Bats: Right Throws: Right
Hometown/Birthplace: Douglasville, GA
Age as of April 1, 2011: 23
Position: SS
2010 Men of the Match: 2

2010 Overview


What happened?

Merritt was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Alabama-Birmingham, where he enjoyed a stellar career, hitting a career .309.

Merritt's professional career got off to a rip-roaring start, hitting .313/.405/.594 in his first eight games with the Gastros. Then things got bad in July (.589 OPS), and then they got better in August. Merritt finished out his last ten games with a six-game hitting streak, and hit .314/.455/.657, with two doubles, two triples, and two homers.

In the field, Merritt saw all of his time (56 games) at shortstop, committing 21 errors in 276 chances for a .924 Fld%. He also stole 12 bases in 17 attempts (70.6%)

What went right?

Hitting against RHPs. Merritt hit .275/.418/.475 against righties - with 15 of his 20 XBHs. 23 of his 31 walks were against RHPs, as well.

Away games. Merritt's OPS was 109 points higher on the road than at home, hitting .272/.402/.446 away from Pioneer Park.

RISP. In 44ABs, Merritt hit .295/.460/.500 - for an OPS 180 points higher than his bases-empty OPS.

What went wrong?

July didn't treat Merritt so well. After starting his career 10x32 with 6XBHs, he hit .176/.330/.259 with 4XBHs in 25 July games. His OPS in June and August were both over .900, with that July OPS coming in at .589.

Lefties. In 82ABs against southpaws, Merritt hit .207/.283/.341, though two of his four homers came against LHPs. He also struck out in 27 of those 82ABs (32.9%).

Appy Astros says:
He made a few spectacular plays and most of the routine ones. He did everything you would want from a short stop... He played his position well, was a good teammate and provided some organizational depth.

I'll agree. Next stop would probably be Tri-City, or Lexington in a back-up role.

Astros put three on BA's App League prospect list

Good news for Eddie's Farm as Astros make up 15% of Baseball America's Top 20 Prospect List:

#5. Delino DeShields

#7. Mike Foltynewicz

#11. Vincent Velasquez

Did you know Woody Williams is a baseball coach at Fort Bend Baptist Academy?

We didn't either!

What team represented him and his career best?
"There were things I liked about all of them, but down inside, I think the Cardinals and St. Louis is who I really am and was. I think that was the time in my career I enjoyed the most."

ValleyCats continue front-office shake-up

The ValleyCats have accepted the resignation of Director of Fan Development Heather LaVine.

LaVine is the wife of the recently-let-go Vic Christopher.

If their relationship is the reason both have left the ValleyCats, then the ValleyCats need to realize that there were some pretty obvious signs they were together. Like getting married on the field in Brooklyn ten days before the ValleyCats won the Championship. That's not exactly an elopement.

Drayton slips 16 spots in the Fortune power rankings

The Temple Daily News lets everyone know just how much money Uncle Drayton has, and where he is in the Fortune 500:

McLane was named 288th richest with a net worth of $1.45 billion.

Run-DMc was 272nd in 2009, with the same amount of cheddar to check.

Nice profile on Kyle Redinger

Kyle Redinger's hometown paper has a nice profile on the hometown boy.

"I have my first season under my belt. I'm learning what it's like to be a professional baseball player. I'm learning how to deal with the struggles of the game and learning the mental aspect of the game...There's the everyday grind of waking up and doing it over and over again. I need to be able to play 160 games. I need to be prepared mentally and physically."

Where Redinger begins 2011 is up for grabs. It's a possibility, given his age, to repeat the GCL, but his goal is Lexington, says Redinger.

Astros again sit and watch Barret Loux throw a baseball

For the second time in a week, the Astros were in attendance for Barret Loux's second throwing session in College Station, along with the Marlins, Rangers, Cubs, Twins, Giants, Brewers, Phillies and Mariners (according to Brian McTaggart).

"Things went about the same, similar velocity on the fastball and breaking pitches. [I] found myself breaking my hands later than I should so control wasn't quite as good as normal, but overall a decent bullpen [session]."

Loux's agent Tom Little:
"I think it's important for them to come out, with what's gone on here the last few months, and see him healthy. Just primarly see how he looks and how hard he's working...

"...I think the offers from the clubs that have interest in Barret will start coming in in October and try to get the thing wrapped up and get Barret placed with a club. I think the four or five clubs that have a lot of interest are going to jump out and then hopefully the right fit for Barret."

Loux, on the Astros' interest:
"That's pretty cool. That's where I've grown up. It's the team I grew up around. so it's definitely interesting."

Bourn still not any better

It's not looking good for Michael Bourn - who might not return this season. He has yet to run or swing since injuring his oblique on Sunday.

Levine notes that Mills "anticipates" Bourn's return, but there's a slight chance he'll be shut down for the rest of the year.

From the Office of the County Clerk - G153: Astros @ Nationals

So much for .500. The Astros drop three of four at Washington, losing yesterday 7-2.

*In the four-game series, 16 of Washington's 21 runs came in the 6th inning or later.

*Thanks to the Astros, the Nationals now have a winning record at home (38-37), while the Astros are 32-43 on the road (.427). That's bad, but it's better than 2009's road record of 30-51 (.370).

*The Astros have lost five of their last six games at Washington, dating back to the beginning of the 2009 season.

*And Houston has a three-game losing streak for the first time since August 6-8 at Milwaukee.

*It looks like Nelson Figueroa's carriage has turned into a pumpkin, throwing 6IP, 6H/5ER, 4K:1BB, 2HR. Figueroa's 1st four starts: 23IP, 17H/5ER, 14K:12BB, 2HR allowed. 1.96 ERA. Figueroa's last four starts: 20IP, 24H/15ER, 18K:8BB, 5HR allowed. 6.75 ERA.

*Gustavo Chacin came in to a 5-2 game, relieving Henry Villar, who left one on base for Chacin. The first batter Chacin saw - Espinosa - took him to left for a two-run homer. Then he gave up a single to Adam Kennedy, and his day was done. It's the first time since August 18 that Chacin had allowed an earned run (11 appearances).

*Wesley Wright hasn't allowed a hit to any of the eight batters he has faced since getting his first action since August 8.

*Jason Bourgeois was 1x4 with a walk, and his 11th stolen base. Joining Michael Bourn and Hunter Pence as the players with double-digit stolen bases.

*Jeff Keppinger was 3x4 with a walk. In September, Keppinger is hitting .329.

*Lee-Michaels-Johnson (4-5-6) went a combined 0x11. The Nationals' 4-5-6 hitters (Morse-Bernadina-Ramos)? 5x10, 5RBI, 1K:1BB.

*Finally, congratulations to Nationals pitcher Ross Detwiler, whose win yesterday was his second career win, his first of 2010, and his first since September 28, 2009.

*Pitch Count Hero: Angel Sanchez (1x3) - 16 pitches in three PAs.

*Pitch Count Punk: Humberto Quintero (1x3) - five pitches in three PAs.

*Man of the Match: Jeff Keppinger

*Goat of the Game: Nelson Figueroa

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Q&A with Jordan Scott

2010 14th Round draftee Jordan Scott took the time out of his Instructional League schedule to answer some questions for Astros County, and for you.

AC: You were selected in the 14th Round of the 2010 draft. Can you talk about your draft experience, and what your options were before you signed?

JS: For the most part it has been a great experience. It was pretty tough at first not really knowing what to expect and not knowing anyone when I got down here. It took me about three weeks before I was comfortable with everything. I planed to attend Spartanburg Methodist Jr. College after highs school.

AC: Mark Kish, your high school coach in South Carolina, described you as a five-tool player and, to be honest, we were surprised you decided to sign with the Astros. What was it about Houston's system that led you to going with the Astros.

JS: This has been my dream my whole life - to play professional baseball - and I felt like signing with the Astros was the best thing for me. The Astros do a very good job of developing players and getting you ready for the higher levels. Another reason I signed is because you’re not guaranteed to get drafted again and I didn’t want to look back and wished I signed, so I signed and I am going to make the best of my opportunity.

AC: Can you talk a little bit about playing in the GCL? What are the similarities and differences you encountered in your first professional season from your experiences in high school?

JS: It was a totally different experience from high school. You wake up at six in the morning and don’t get home until about five, all day is baseball. The GCL is the foundation to your major league career. There is a lot of work involved and it is definitely not what you dream about when you’re a little boy, but it is something you have to do in order to move up in the system. In high school you practiced maybe two hours a day and it wasn’t all that serious. It was a lot more about having fun.

AC: We typically see hitters fare much better on the road than at home, and this held up with your 2010 (.659 OPS at home, .807 on the road). What is it about that stadium that makes that more common?

JS: I really don’t know why it was so much better on the road than at home. I prepared the same way on the road as I did at home.

AC: You had a lights-out August (.380/.440/.461), improving dramatically over July (.242/.314/.306). What clicked for you in August?

JS: I was struggling a lot at the beginning of the season and I just worked a lot with my hitting coach to try to get me back on the right track. I also just got a lot of confidence towards the end of the season and that was a huge thing.

AC: What are your plans for this off-season, as you prepare for 2011?

JS: My plans are to just improve my overall game and work out and get stronger so I am ready for the 2011 season.

Big thanks to Jordan for his time, and we'll try to check in with him later in the off-season.

Lopez losing velocity

Perhaps you've noticed that Wilton Lopez hasn't pitched in about two weeks. Zach Levine has the answers.

The Astros' reports have the breakout 27-year-old's velocity down as the season has gone along.

"He probably lost a little strength and we just want to give him time to get that strength back."

Wade to OKC: You're the prettiest girl in a world of two girls

The Astros and RedHawks held a press conference yesterday about their new two-year PDC.

When asked why the Astros went after Oklahoma City, Wade said:
"For every reason. Fan base, ballpark, Mandalay Baseball and what they've done in other places, the proximity to Houston and, in all candor, the unattractive secondary choices that we would've had at our disposal.”

To his credit, he addresses the fact that the Oklahoman can't seem to write about the deal without noting that the Astros ranked at or near the bottom of organizational rankings in terms of a farm system:

"I think we're over the dry spell. When I came on board at the end of the 2007 season, there were two things: to be as strong as we could be at the major league level, but task 1A was to replenish the farm system. We've clearly acknowledged at every level that we had several bad drafts back-to-back-to-back, and it takes a long time to recover from those things, but we've had three very good drafts (since)...

...There'll be good prospects on this club next year. We know what we have to do. We think we're sort of underestimated with regard to the level of prospects and the number of prospects we have.”

Director of Player Development Fred Nelson:

"We want a blend of good, young prospects that you're trying to develop and being able to find the six-year free agents to fill in that can help you out in Triple-A and maybe in the majors if there is a need. We're really heading in the right direction.”

...says Bourgeois as he slowly hides his voodoo doll behind his back

The Astros Notebook on has a couple of things of note, particularly Jason Bourgeois taking advantage of injuries to Pence and Bourn.

"I don't wish that on anybody with injuries. I wish good health for all players. But if the opportunity presents itself like this, it's something I've been preparing for and something I'm ready for. I'm a guy that doesn't have a lot of time, so I want to make my presence felt," he said. "A couple more weeks left is a good time to put good positive [feelings] in the coaches and everybody's heads. Make a lasting impression."

We also see that Mills isn't all that concerned about Matt Lindstrom, unbelievably:

"He feels strong, his back feels good, his arm feels good, his velocity is very good. His pitches have a lot of crispness."

That crispness may be the sound of the bat politely cracking the ball in half.

Francona is kind of a sweetheart

WEEI has a sweet story about Terry Francona giving Mills a call.

“When we lose, and it’s not possible, I want everyone to lose. I want everyone to play extra innings and lose. The exception, I wanted Houston to win last night. I gave Millsy a nice of congratulations and then found out when I called him, they gave up eight late and so I even screwed that up...

Not sure what a nice of congratulations is (maybe it's like a group of congratulations. Like a murder of crows. Or a cram of sex toys.) But here's Francona, on whether he's surprised by the Astros' recent success:

...“No, I’m not amazed. Not ‘I told you so’ but all of his qualities are coming out. He started out slow, they’re getting beat up, he just kept fighting. He helped create a culture and they’re five games under .500 and they could’ve quit. All of sudden, there’s reason for optimism, guys are enjoying coming to the ballpark in September and they’re not even .500. That’s Millsy.

They lost the first eight games of the year. Some veterans weren’t happy. He did a great job. I think he’s kind of included player development and it’s his personality, he’s finally a got a chance to do it. Good for him. I don’t think that’s a surprise at all.”

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Good news for Hunter Pence

Hunter Pence tweeted that his hip is doing better:

The hip flexor isn't bad I just can't fire my knee up quick enough to sprint. Feel better today hopefully I can be back strong tomorrow

The punctuation-less tweet underscores some good news, though Pence is out of the lineup for G152, which is:

1. Bourgeois - CF
2. Sanchez - SS
3. Keppinger - 2B
4. Lee - LF
5. Johnson - 3B
6. Wallace - 1B
7. Michaels - RF
8. Castro - C
9. Wandy - P

Astros claim Cesar Carrillo

Zach Levine tells us (and by "us," we of course mean, "everybody") that the Astros have claimed Cesar Carrillo from the San Diego Padres. According to Levine, he won't join the Astros, but Edwin Maysonet has been designated for assignment in the corresponding roster move.

Carrillo is a 26-year old RHP from Chicago, and was the Padres' 1st Round pick in the 2005 draft. He spent all of 2010 with Triple-A Portland, and posted a 5-14 record, 5.60 ERA/1.48 WHIP, 95K:57BB in 151IP, allowing 20HR, as well, for a 1.2 HR/9 rate.

Just because it's funny to note, the Padres claimed Carrillo on September 15, after designating him for assignment on September 1, where he was claimed off waivers from - yes - the Phillies.

Carrillo had Tommy John surgery in 2007 to repair a torn UCL in his right elbow.

Beerleaguer sums it up as such:
Carrillo, 26, surrendered five home runs in his final start with Triple-A Portland before he was put on waivers. The Pacific Coast League hasn't been kind to the once-promising right-hander. He finished 5-14 in 27 starts with a 5.60 ERA and 95/57 K/BB ratio. The University of Miami product once rated as the Padres' second-best prospect by Baseball America, but elbow and control problems have kept him from realizing his full potential. Before the surgery, his fastball routinely sat in the mid-90s and he was considered to be on the fast track; he was drafted in June of 2005 and would be pitching in Double-A later that season...Carrillo, who throws fastball-curveball-changeup, was added to the 40-man and will become a fun reclamation project for next season.

Vic Christopher no longer with the ValleyCats

The Albany Times-Union's Mark McGuire has the scoop on ValleyCats' Assistant GM Vic Christopher's departure:

The Tri-City ValleyCats...have parted ways with assistant general manager Vic Christopher, the public face of the team’s marketing efforts.

The team announced Tuesday it was promoting Matt Callahan to Christopher’s position. For the past two seasons Callahan has been Tri-City’s business development manager.

GM Rick Murphy:
“We hired Matt Callahan. Vic is no longer with us,” general manager Rick Murphy said Tuesday. The GM declined to comment on the reasons for Christopher’s departure, including whether he was fired or resigned. “We don’t comment on personnel matters,” he said. “It was a personnel matter.”

The decision came Tuesday. Christopher, who as late as Monday night discussed plans for promoting the 2011 team and the 10th anniversary season of the franchise, uncharacteristically declined comment Tuesday afternoon.

Sorry to see it happen, from the limited interaction we've had with Vic, he's a stand-up guy.

And if you read the comments of the blog post, it's not a popular decision.

Carl Crawford to Houston is crazy talk

Want a reason why? Jon Heyman tells you why:

Both the exec and one agent suggested Rays outfielder Crawford could get at least $120 million over seven years...The estimates for Werth ranged from $85 million to $96 million.

No, thank you.

Instructional League rosters

Zach Levine has your rosters for this fall's Instructional Leagues.

We also see at the bottom of the post that Brandon Barnes has been added to, and T.J. Steele has been subtracted from, the Arizona Fall League rosters. Here are your AFL representatives:

RHP Sergio Perez
RHP Kyle Greenwalt
RHP Matt Nevarez
LHP Patrick Urckfitz
1B Koby Clemens
OF J.B. Shuck
OF Jay Austin
OF Brandon Barnes

Pettitte got his HGH from a Pasadena gym

Puff-dena represent! Kelly Blair, the owner of a Pasadena gym who was suing writers from the New York Daily News, has dropped his defamation lawsuit after he was presented with an affidavit detailing his sale of HGH to Andy Pettitte's dad:

Blair, who is related by marriage to the Pettitte family, was confronted with the document last Thursday during a sworn deposition related to his complaint in Texas state court. The book included an episode in which Tom Pettitte bought HGH from Blair and shared it with his son, then a member of the Houston Astros.

The website Steroid Nation wonders aloud whether or not the Pasadena gym should be investigated. Seen on Blair's website, according to the linked post, was former Astros Richard Hidalgo, among other Major Leaguers. Linked to this post is this February 2008 New York Daily News article, in which the writers say that Koby Clemens was seen working out with Blair, althought this qualification is very important:

Clemens' spokesman Joe Householder declined to comment, but it has not been suggested Koby Clemens, now a minor league ballplayer, was linked to any illicit activity at the gym.

Why post this? Well, because of it's Houston-centered nature, and the link to former Astros. That's why.

Paulino: My bad; Lindstrom: Lucky hits

The two relievers responsible for the Nationals' 7-run 8th inning talked about the inning:

Paulino, on his hanging curve that Pudge bounced off the foul pole:
"I take responsibility for that one. I don't know what I'm thinking at that moment, but I make a really bad pitch in that situation. ... I know I have the pitches to beat this guy. It was a bad pitch to Pudge. ... I make a big, big mistake throwing that curveball. That was a bad pitch at a bad moment. You could see how on my first two pitches, he chased my pitches. The next one, I throw a really bad curveball in a really bad location. You pay for that."

"A couple of them were broken bats, but they were able to get the bats on them. We weren't able to stop the inning and they were able to keep it going with some balls that leaked through and some balls that fell in."

From the Office of the County Clerk - G151: Astros @ Nationals

I think we can all agree that Matt Lindstrom isn't helping anybody these days. Astros lose 8-4.

*A day after scoring seven runs in an inning for the first time this season, the Nationals scored seven runs in the 8th inning to go up 8-3.

*Still, the Astros started the 8th inning with a 3-1 lead, dropping their record to 58-5 when leading to start the 8th.

*Happ threw well - 6IP, 3H/0ER, 6K:3BB, lowering his ERA to 2.99. And then it all went to hell. Melancon allowed two consecutive doubles in the 7th to close the Astros lead to 3-1. Then Tim Byrdak walked Adam Dunn and was pulled. Felipe Paulino got Zimmerman and Morse quickly, and then gave up a homer to Pudge, a single to Bernadina, singled, Maxwell walked, Kennedy singled, Espinosa walked. Paulino's day was done with 0.2IP, 3H, 2BB, WP. Lindstrom came in and gave up three singles, scoring three more runs. By the time the inning was over, the Nationals were up 8-3.

*On August 2, Lindstrom had a 2.41 ERA. Since that outing, it's 13.50 in fifteen appearances. Two of his last four appearances have seen him leave the mound without getting an out, and he's allowed three hits in three of his last four appearances.

*Keppinger had a good night, going 1x3 with a walk and an RBI - his first RBI since September 15.

*Jason Bourgeois got two hits from the leadoff spot, his first 2-hit game since August 28 - though this was his 3rd start since Aug 28.

*Chris Johnson hit his 11th homer of the season, and his 5th this month, with 1 out in the 9th inning, and was 3x4 on the night. He's hitting .317 in September. And despite played in about 60 fewer games, he's three doubles behind Bourn, five behind Carlos Lee, and six doubles behind Hunter Pence.

*Jason Michaels hit his first homer since his grand slam against the Brewers on August 1. It's his 57th homer of his career, and 29 of those have come with runners on.

*Pitch Count Hero: Jason Castro (0x3, BB) - 20 pitches in four PAs.

*Pitch Count Punk: Jason Bourgeois (2x4) - 10 pitches in four PAs.

*Man of the Match: Chris Johnson, of course.

*Goat of the Game: Felipe Paulino/Matt Lindstrom. Of course.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Pence out with sore hip

Hunter Pence left G151 tonight in the first inning with a sore right hip flexor, and was replaced by Brian Bogusevic.

Lee to 1B starting to make sense

This Carlos Lee-to-1B thing is gaining some traction.

Alyson Footer has a blog post about it:

You also have to wonder if playing first base has helped Lee at the plate. Is playing a position where he is involved in nearly every play, which in turn requires non-stop concentration, helping him focus better at the plate? There seems to be long stretches of nothingness while standing in the outfield, and I can see where it would be easy to become distracted or let your mind wander. Maybe the concentration that's there when Carlos plays first base lingers when he is hitting. It could be the best explanation as to why his bat has come to life after hitting around .240 for the better part of four months.

At first my thought was, "Good God! Have you gone mad? The Astros might reward a guy who is receiving north of $18m (pre-taxes, of course) with a position change to keep him interested in playing the game responsible for paying him north of $18m?"

As ridiculous as it sounds, yes. The Constable just might have it wrong. I got an apoplectic text message from him just this afternoon. It read as such, "GAH! LEE? 1B?" I'm assuming that means he's not for it, and having read the earlier post, that seems to be a reasonable assumption.

So allow me to be the voice of reason. It's not the worst idea. Unfortunately for me, Alyson Footer kind of beat me to the reasoning. Wallace could - potentially - go back to Triple-A and wait for Carlos Lee to start losing concentration there, until they make him a player-manager to increase his concentration, until he starts to ride Jason Castro like a bull in the dugout between innings. Then they can make him the ranch hand-player-manager until he misses less important series to impregnate whatever female cows are called with a syringe. Then they can make him GM to regain his concentration. Yet, I digress.

Wallace does have options, and if he goes back to Triple-A, Alyson Footer kindly responded that Koby Clemens wouldn't take playing time away from Wallace.

So what do you think? Which way are you leaning?

Here's a Cubs fan FJM-ing Berthiaume's prediction

I wondered how long it would take. Not long.

File this under "Please God, No"

Alyson Footer tweets (and here) that we might be seeing more Carlos Lee at 1B in 2011.

Here are the tweets, combined, for your viewing pleasure:
Mills tells media they had many talks last winter about moving Berkman to left field and Lee to first. Didn't happen obviously but it does make you wonder if Carlos will play more 1b than LF in '11. 1b is definitely his better position.

Horrifying. Because if Carlos Lee is playing more 1B next year, that means Brett Wallace is sitting on the bench, or he's playing in Round Rock Oklahoma City. After giving Wallace half a season to prepare for big-league life, what the hell would it accomplish to send him back to Triple-A, where he has hit .299/.357/.484? Who would take Lee's place in LF? And don't say "Carl Crawford," don't you dare say "Carl Crawford."

A youth movement is what got the Astros to this point, edging towards respectability by giving spots to young players. Not by taking your first baseman of the future and sending him back to the Minors, after he's been accruing two months of Major-League service time, where he'll be competing with Koby Clemens for time at 1B.

Even though his bat would (might?) be an upgrade over Wallace, let Lee play LF - where he can earn his $18m in peace, covered by Michael Bourn, and let Wallace develop. A commenter said it earlier, by the time Lee's contract is up, J.D. Martinez could be ready for Major League time, and there's Shuck and Bogusevic to consider, as well.

Matt Downs will play winter ball

For those of you Spanish-speaking readers, you can read all about Matt Downs playing in the Venezuelan league for Bravos de Margarita this winter.

(Captip to Appy Astros)

Your first asinine rumor of the off-season

It's not even the end of the 2010 season, and we're getting our first free agency rumor.

The Boston Herald thinks that the Astros don't have enough $100m players, and could be in the market for another one, listing the Astros as one of three suitors for Carl Crawford - and if that doesn't work out, Jayson Werth.

The only way that will happen is if the Astros rid themselves of Carlos Lee. And I don't see the Astros making another $100m play for a player anytime soon.

Jordan Lyles is Prospect #18

In his 20 Prospects for 2011, Jason Grey ranked Jordan Lyles as his #18 prospect:

Having already made six starts at Triple-A before his 20th birthday, Lyles is clearly on the fast track and could see time in the Astros' rotation early next year. Solid control and command of a four-pitch mix, with some additional projectability, thrown in make him one to watch.

From the Office of the County Clerk - G150: Astros @ Nationals

The Astros got a hit for every ten fans at Nationals Park last night in an 8-2 win over Washington.

*The Astros scored 8+ runs for the 11th time (11-0) this season.

*Courtesy of AstroBrit, we see that the seven runs the Astros scored in the 5th inning are more than they have scored in 133 games - total - this season.

*Interesting: the Nationals got their two runs in the bottom of the first. When starting the 2nd inning behind, the Astros are now 15-29.

*Bud Norris threw 6.2IP, 6H/2ER, 6K:4BB for his 9th win of the season. Fifteen of the 77ER he has allowed have come in the 1st inning.

*Norris has thrown three straight games with 4+ walks, with a K:BB ratio of 20K:13BB. However, he didn't allow a homer last night, breaking a four game streak.

*Bud got 15 swinging strikes against Washington - the most in a game since he struck out 14 Pirates.

*The bullpen of Byrdak (0.1IP), Fulchino (1IP), and Abad (1IP) dominated the Nationals. In 2.1IP, they racked up 0H/0ER, 4K:0BB, and got seven outs on 32 pitches.

*The offense was helped out by some poor fielding - four of the Astros' eight runs were unearned. When starting pitcher Livan Hernandez got the leadoff batter in the inning (three times), he threw a perfect inning. When the leadoff batter reached (twice), the Astros went on to go 6x11, sac, ROE after the leadoff batter reached.

*Five of the Astros runs came via the longball. Humberto Quintero hit his 4th homer (tying a career high), and his first since June 10. Geoff Blum provided a three-run homer later in the inning, his 2nd of the year.

*It was Blum's 97th career homer, but his 20th career homer in the 5th inning, and his 16th three-run homer. Nationals Park became the 27th different stadium in which Blum has hit a homer.

*Chris Johnson was 1x3 with 3Ks. It was his 5th 3K game of the season, and in four of those games, he has gotten a hit in his other AB. Since August 1, he has 47K:9BB - and actually has more doubles (11) than walks (9). Last night, Johnson saw 13 pitches, nine of them were strikes, and five were swinging.

*The Astros were 5x11 w/RISP (Blum, Quintero, Lee, Keppinger, Bogusevic).

*Congratulations to Brian Bogusevic, who got his first multi-hit game of his career. Two of his four hits this season have been doubles.

*Pitch Count Hero: Jeff Keppinger (2x4, BB) - 18 pitches in five PAs.

*Pitch Count Punk: Chris Johnson (1x4) - 13 pitches in four PAs.

*Man of the Match: Geoff Blum - because I'm feeling froggy!

*Goat of the Game: Jason Bourgeois - 0x5, and led-off the inning with an out three times. (Nice catch in CF, though).

Bourn not feeling any better

Michael Bourn was held out of all baseball activities yesterday, resting his strained oblique. But it didn't feel any better than it did on Sunday. Which is to say, not good.

"There's not much you can do for it. It's going to be a couple days."

Had the ValleyCats not won the NYPL, they would be looking for a new parent affiliate

Kinda sorta confirming what we had talked about previously (though I'm trying to find the link), the ValleyCats' championship push led to the renewing of the PDC with the ValleyCats. Or so says the Albany Times-Union.

Sports Editor Mark Mcguire:
Don't think the title and the deal are wholly unrelated.

Had the ValleyCats not transformed themselves into winners and then champions under manager Jim Pankovits, this very well could have been a story about Tri-City hooking up with a new major-league parent club...

...(The) fact Houston supplied the players, including late-season call-ups, needed to put the 'Cats in position to win a title went far toward continuing this relationship. "They were very, very smart and perceptive to clean up some things when we were below .500," Gladstone said. "It's a tribute to the Astros to recognize what it means to be winners. And they wanted to be winners."

You could see over the past several years the sustained losing grated at Gladstone, even as the stands were packed night after night. "Winning," he said Monday, "trumps attendance."

Levine hands out some awards

In Zach Levine's Minor League Notebook we dishes out awards. Let's recap, shall we? We'll just pull the names, and let you click the link for the reasoning:

Top Offensive Player: J.D. Martinez

Top Pitcher: Jordan Lyles

Most Disappointing: Jiovanni Mier

Monday, September 20, 2010

Greeneville Astros: Jhonny Medrano

Jhonny Medrano
How did he get here?: Signed as free agent prior to 2005 season
Stats: 6'1" 156 lbs, Bats: Right Throws: Right
Hometown/Birthplace: Tucupita, Venezuela
Age as of April 1, 2011: 23
Position: 3B
2010 Men of the Match: 6

2010 Overview


Career (2005-07, 2009)


What happened?

Medrano put together strong back-to-back years in 2006 and 2007 - his 2nd and 3rd years in the VSL before missing all of 2008. Coming to Tri-City, Medrano had an absolutely brutal 2009, posting a .546 OPS in 47 games for the ValleyCats. He was sent back to Greeneville for 2010, where he set career highs in homers, average, slugging, and OPS - and tied Emilio King for the team lead with 13 doubles.

In the field, Medrano played 21 games at 3B and 11 games at 1B - with 19 games as the DH. He committed five errors in 71 chances at 3B (.930 Fld%) and three errors in 55 chances at 1B (.945 Fld%).

Last year, we said that we needed a second season thanks to missing '08 before passing judgment. Looks like the Astros did, too.

What went right?

Away games. Medrano played in exactly 22 games at home and 22 games on the road. His home OPS was .783. He hit .325/.389/.550 for a .939 OPS in 80 road ABs.

RHP. He hit .314/.360/.562 in 105ABs against righties, and his 23.4% K/AB rate is about 12% lower than his K/AB rate against lefties.

RISP. Medrano was good with runners on (.911 OPS). But hitting w/RISP, he hit .356/.423/.600 (three doubles, a triple, and two homers) for a 1.023 OPS.

What went wrong?

August. Medrano may have tired out, or pitchers started to figure him out, but after posting respective OPS' of .977 and .954 in June and July, Medrano hit .225/.300/.408 in 71 August ABs, striking out 23 of his 49 times in the final month of the season.

Defense. The Appalachian League fielding average was .963, and while 3B is a difficult position (and his Fld% did increase), a .945 Fld% at 1B - even in just 11 games - is brutal.

Given his age, I think Medrano will need to go to Lexington to see if he can keep 2010 rolling along. Good season, though.

Some fan reaction to the OKC partnership

In the Oklahoman's story on the Astros/RedHawks PDC, we get to see the ever-entertaining comments. A few of my favorites:

Welp, guess I won't be attending any Redhawks games. Bad, bad move. If I do go it will be when Round Rock comes to town so I can boo the hometeam and cheer for the visiting team. Thank you Nolan Ryan - you idiot and thank you to the new ownership for choosing the Astros - NOT!!!
Just as long as they DESTROY round rock, I don't care if they win another game all season.
Greeeeaaattt, from one of the best farms systems to one of the worst. Boy, are we lucky. I hate seeing the Rangers put out of OKC. I understand why... I just hate it.

PDC List

So now that everything's all set for 2011 and beyond, let's look at when Eddie's Farm's current PDCs expire:

Oklahoma City (AAA): 2012
Corpus (AA): 2016
Lancaster (A+): 2012
Lexington (A): 2012
Tri-City (A, Short-season): 2012
Greeneville (A, Short-season): N/A (team owned by Astros)

So 2012 is going to be a busy off-season, as the Astros need to re-sign four teams.

Astros and ValleyCats re-up

And Eddie's Farm is all sorted out with the PDC renewal between the Tri-City ValleyCats and the Astros through 2012.

ValleyCats President/CEO Bill Gladstone:
"We are pleased to continue our close relationship with the Astros. It provides the ValleyCats a strong partner to continue our recent success."

"We're excited and extremely pleased that our relationship with the ValleyCats has been extended for an additional two years. The ownership and management at Tri-City are outstanding, we play in a beautiful facility there and our players are given every opportunity to continue their development in a first class, state-of-the-art, fan friendly environment. This is a great partnership for Tri-City and the Houston Astros."

Lineup for G150: Astros @ Nationals

Zach Levine has your lineup for G150 at Washington:

1. Bourgeois - CF
2. Keppinger - 2B
3. Pence - RF
4. Lee - 1B
5. Blum - SS
6. Johnson - 3B
7. Bogusevic - LF
8. Quintero - C
9. Norris - P

This will be the 13th time that Quintero has caught Norris. Castro has caught him eight times. With Quintero behind the plate, Norris has allowed a slash line of .216/.310/.371 for an OPS 100 points lower than with Castro (.278/.332/.448).

Astros sign PDC with Oklahoma City

Maybe the writing on the wall was there the whole time. Maybe it was like urine, and needed some heat to show up, but the Astros have signed a two-year PDC with Oklahoma City.

Zach Levine has a quote from Drayton:
"There’s a rich tradition of baseball in Oklahoma City, with strong ties to the Astros, so we expect great things in Oklahoma City."

The home of the Oklahoma City RedHawks is AT&T Bricktown Ballpark - a beautiful stadium. It seats 13,066 fans and has dimensions of 325' to left, 400' to center, and 325' to right.

To compare, Dell Diamond seats 8,722, and is 330' to left, 407' to center, 375' to the power alleys, and 325' to right.

The Crawfish Boxes dominated it with this post.

The Oklahoma City franchise is now owned by Mandalay Baseball Properties, whose President/CEO, Art Martin, said:
"We are thrilled to have the Astros returning to Oklahoma City as the RedHawks' affiliate. The combination of the close proximity to Houston, fan base and history of the Astros in Oklahoma City, TV coverage, other opportunities to draw a connection between the Astros and the RedHawks, and the success the Astros have enjoyed under Drayton McLane's ownership, make the Astros the logical Major League Baseball affiliate for the RedHawks. We anticipate a long and mutually rewarding relationship between the RedHawks and the Astros."

Let's hear from some OKC residents. Are you happy?

Greeneville Astros: Emilio King

Emilio King
How did he get here?: Signed as free agent prior to 2006 season
Stats: 6'1" 180 lbs, Bats: Right Throws: Right
Hometown/Birthplace: Samana, Dominican Republic
Age as of April 1, 2011: 21
Position: RF
2010 Men of the Match: 1

2010 Overview


Career (2007-09)


What happened?

King brokeout in the GCL in 2009, with a .783 OPS - 217 points higher than his 2008 season. When we discussed King last year, we noted his dropoff in production from July to August. There was no such dropoff this year, as there wasn't much to dropoff from. King just flatout struggled, and though he did lead the team with 13 doubles, he also led the team in strikeouts.

In the field, King was a force in RF. In 57 games, King got himself 14 outfield assists in RF, and also played eight games in CF, and two games in LF.

What went right?

Home games. King hit .238/.310/.356 in 32 games at home, for a .666 OPS.

June. By month, King's best split was the nine games in June, when he hit .257/.297/.343.

Defense. 14 outfield assists is nothing to sneeze at.

What went wrong?

Those strikeouts. King's Ks took almost a 10% jump from the GCL to Greeneville, and that includes 45K against RHP in 133 ABs (33.8%).

Scoring position. King only got nine hits in 56 ABs w/RISP (.161/.262/.196).

Away games. While King's home splits were worth mentioning above, they're just about erased on the road. In 31 away games, King hit .183/.261/.240, with 37K:9BB (35.6% K/AB).

King's defense was definitely his strong suit, but I'm not sure that he hits well enough - or with some power when he does - to do more than repeat Greeneville next season, if he gets that chance.

Steve Berthiaume: Astros will win NLC in 2011

Here's a succinct recap from Baseball Tonight's Steve Berthiaume on the Astros' season, which starts with his prediction that the 2011 Astros will win the NL Central.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Greeneville Astros: Ryan Humphrey

Ryan Humphrey
How did he get here?: Drafted, 2009 (15th Round)
Stats: 6'0" 190 lbs, Bats: Right Throws: Right
Hometown/Birthplace: Blytheville, AR
Age as of April 1, 2011: 22
Position: CF
2010 Men of the Match: 2

2010 Overview


Career (2009)


What happened?

Hm. Humphrey followed up a rough rookie season with a rougher 2010, posting a .518 OPS in 34 games. He saw his playing time diminish in August, playing in 12 games as opposed to 18 in July.

That said, Humphrey was dealing with an off-season injury, so maybe there's an alternative explanation.

Humphrey saw more time in CF (25 of 33 starts) this season, after playing primarily in LF in 2009. He had two outfield assists in 47 chances.

What went right?

Humphrey did cut down on his strikeouts from 2009, striking out in 29.9% in 2010 as opposed to 33.6% of his PAs in 2009. Still, he struck out in just under 30% of his plate appearances.

Road games. It still isn't a pretty line, but in 15 away games, Humphrey hit .237/.275/.237 - nine points above his home OPS.

What went wrong?

Hitting lefties. Last season, Humphrey posted a .588 OPS in 29ABs. This season, that dropped to .508 (.176/.243/.265) in 34ABs.

Power. Humphrey hit just one homer - a solo shot - the only one he's hit in 250 career PAs.

Not sure what the future holds for Humphrey, I'm not sure if the Astros will give him another chance at Greeneville, or send him to the GCL, or...something else. Maybe a healthy off-season's worth of work will bring him back as a different player.

Greeneville Astros: Ricardo Heredia

Ricardo Heredia
How did he get here?: Signed as free agent, July 2006
Stats: 6'2" 170 lbs, Bats: Right Throws: Right
Hometown/Birthplace: La Romana, Dominican Republic
Age as of April 1, 2011: 22
Position: LF/RF
2010 Men of the Match: 0

2010 Overview


Career (2007-09)


What happened?

Oh my. This was pretty much a disaster. In three DSL seasons, Heredia hit .236/.311/.311 (344 PAs). He skipped the GCL and went straight to Greeneville, where he posted a .364 OPS - 318 points below his 2009 OPS.

In 38 games in the field, Heredia played 21 games in LF and 17 in RF, and didn't commit an error at either position.

What went right?

Pretty much nothing. In only one of his splits did Heredia post an OPS over .500 (four games in June).

But I guess if we're going to pick something, how about July? Heredia got eleven hits in 18 games, with 5RBI.

What went wrong?

Everything else. Against LHP, Heredia's OPS was .316. Against RHP, it was .388. Heredia only drew two walks - both against LHP - all season. And he hit .071/.071/.071 in 15 August games.

If I was a little nervous for Ricardo Garcia, I'm downright terrified for Heredia.

Bourn out with oblique injury

Jason Bourgeois came in to pinch-hit and play center for Michael Bourn, who left with a lower oblique injury, reports Brian McTaggart.

"They told me it would be day to day and I suspect it'll be a couple of days at least."

Bourn had a similar injury in Spring Training this year.

From the Office of the County Clerk - G149: Astros v. Reds

There was only scoring in three separate innings, and the Astros and Reds traded 3-run innings. Chris Johnson and Brett Myers get credit for the 4-3 win over Cincinnati.

*Myers' celebrated 18+ out streak is run to 31 games. As we've mentioned before, Curt Schilling's 35 starts of the same feat in 2002 is the most-recent record he's chasing, but this is a pretty incredible run Myers has going.

*On balls in play, the Reds were 6x20 against Myers.

*With his 7IP, Myers is 3.1IP short of his career high, set in 2005.

*One more about Myers. He threw 7IP for the seventh time in his last eight starts, and didn't give up a run for the third time in his last five starts.

*And then came Matt Lindstrom. Lindstrom allowed 3ER in 0.2IP, including a two-run homer to Ramon Hernandez. Yes. Ramon Hernandez. Lindstom has had two multi-run outings in his last three appearances, five since August 2, and nine this season.

*That two-run homer was hit with two outs. He has allowed ten runs with two outs, and three of the five homers he has given up this season have been with two outs, as well.

*Brandon Lyon made things interesting in the 9th, again with two outs. Brandon Phillips and Scott Rolen got consecutive singles, and Joey Votto came up with the tying run at 2nd. With runners on 1st and 2nd, Votto came into this game hitting .444/.531/.630, and .374/.497/.659 w/RISP. However, Lyon had a .178/.355/.274 line against w/RISP. It only took three pitches, and Votto popped up to end the game.

*Offensively, the damage was done by the bottom half of the order. Chris Johnson was 2x3 with his 10th homer of the year, and Humberto Quintero had a two-run single. Even Brett Myers got himself an RBI sac fly. The top of the order (Bourn-Keppinger-Pence-Lee-Michaels) went a combined 2x18.

*Hunter Pence was 0x4, and had three ABs in which he was swinging on the first pitch (and was out on all three). He had been hitting .384 when swinging at the first pitch (33x86). He's now hitting .371.

*The Astros had four starters see fewer than ten pitches all game. I'm not even going to back through and see the last time that happened, but it's not good. Combined day for those starters (Bourn, Pence, Johnson, Manzella)? 3x13.

*Despite taking two of three from the Reds this series, the Astros were 4x20 w/RISP.

*Pitch Count Hero: Carlos Lee (1x4) - 23 pitches in four PAs.

*Pitch Count Punk: Hunter Pence (0x4) - Seven pitches in four PAs.

*Man of the Match: We'll split this one between Myers and Johnson, who provided what was ultimately the game-winning RBI.

*Goat of the Game: Hunter Pence. For the aforementioned.

Further evidence the Astros will sign with Oklahoma City

You have to scroll down through a story about the writer seeing Yorvit Torrealba naked, but there's some insight from the Las Vegas Review Journal about the Triple-A situation:

It's looking more and more as if Don Logan will return as 51s general manager. And if he does, he'll most likely still have the Toronto Blue Jays' updated logo on the breast pocket of his golf shirt...Oklahoma City is closer to Houston and has a beautiful ballpark, with batting cages. Las Vegas has Cashman Field and Carrot Top.

Greeneville Astros: Ricardo Garcia

Ricardo Garcia
How did he get here?: Signed as free agent, September 2005
Stats: 5'9" 142 lbs, Bats: Right Throws: Right
Hometown/Birthplace: Guacara, Venezuela
Age as of April 1, 2011: 22
Position: 2B
2010 Men of the Match: 1

2010 Overview


Career (2006-09)


What happened?

As you can see, this is Garcia's fifth season in the Astros' organization, and his second in the States, having spent three seasons in the VSL. Garcia hit .246/.318/.303 with eight doubles, a triple, and 18RBI.

He missed most of the 2009 season after a breakout 2008, in which he posted an .896 OPS, with 17K:29BB.

Garcia played all over the place in 2010, with the large majority of his starts (41 of 50) coming at 2B, committing ten errors in 213 chances for a .953 Fld%. He successfully stole ten of 13 bases, for a 76.9% SB rate.

What went right?

Not a whole lot, and I'm not sure if it has something to do with any re-familiarization after only playing in eight games in 2009. However, if we're going to pick something, let's pick July. In 23 games in July, Garcia hit .267/.330/.326 for a monthly OPS high of .655.

Also, we can credit him with drawing some walks, which has been a strong point for him in his career. He drew 12 walks in 112 ABs against RHP.

What went wrong?

Away games. Even though his overall OPS was six points higher on the road (.624) than at home (.618), he only hit .232 in 25 games on the road.

August. His OPS dropped off 90 points from July, after hitting .215/.288/.277 in 21 August games. He was a touch unlucky, as he only struck out eight times in 65 ABs.

RISP. Garcia only hit .234/.302/.234 w/RISP, for an OPS 99 points lower than with the bases empty.

I'm a little nervous for Garcia. After posting an .896 OPS in 2008 and missing most of 2009, he may have needed a stronger 2010 than he had. Still, he has 88 career strikeouts and 76 career walks.