Friday, June 10, 2011

Matt Duffy to sign

20th Round pick Matt Duffy has signed and will report to Tri-City, according to VolBaseball

Brandon Meredith to sign

6th Round pick Brandon Meredith tweeted a few minutes ago:

Another meeting with the Astros tonight looks as if I'll be signing and off to Tri City sometime early next week!!!

This is awfully kind and self-congratulatory

Good old Jeff Gordon, of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch gave Jim Crane some advice on how to rebuild the Astros:

1. Be like St. Louis.
2. Enjoy!

In trying to form a response, I could do no better than Craig Calcaterra

In response to Richard Justice's post on how to fix the Astros (call up Biggio and Bagwell), I could find no better way to do it than Craig Calcaterra did.

Jeff Gordon won't leave it alone about Milo not leaving Berkman alone

Jeff Gordon's Tipsheet in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has this note:

Tipsheet caught the Houston broadcast of the Cards-Astros game Thursday night on satellite radio while driving home from a meeting. The seventh inning conversation turned to Lance Berkman and his All-Star Game candidacy.

Astros play-by-play man Milo Hamilton couldn’t resist needling Berkman, again. Earlier he ripped Berkman for whipping himself into top shape as a Cardinal after failing to do so during final, injury-marred season an Astro.

Milo’s Thursday night comment was something like this: “If he makes the All-Star Game, I hope he brings his trainer.”


/Dead Horse

Corporan up, Cancel down

With a clue to the previous post, the Astros brought up Carlos Corporan and sent down Robinson Cancel.

Who Wandy replaces is on a need-to-know basis. And you don't need to know.

Brad Mills isn't concerned with who Wandy replaces when he rejoins the rotation Monday.

"We'll address that later. I don't think that needs to be taken care of right now."

Some possibilities:

1. He replaces Jordan Lyles. The Astros would then have to burn one of his option years to send him back to OKC.

2. Wandy replaces Aneury Rodriguez, who would then have to be moved into a bullpen role thanks to his Rule 5 status. This is further complicated by the impending return of Brandon Lyon.

Barring some sort of Big Time Move (flat-out releasing someone), I'm guessing Option #2 is the best bet.

But what to do with the bullpen? Right now it's:
Melancon, Del Rosario, Escalona, Fulchino, Lopez, and Fernando Rodriguez.

If Aneury goes to the bullpen, you need two guys back to OKC to make room for Brandon Lyon. Who do you choose? Personally, I'd like to see Brandon Lyon sent off to the Yankees for a bag of peanuts. But I'm guessing this will not be the case. With the Astros currently feeling like they only need one LHP in the bullpen, this would make Escalona expendable. And you could choose one of Fulchino, Lopez, or Del Rosario who flat-out scare you to death whenever they come into a game.

UPDATE: Totally forgot that Valdez had already been sent down for Lyon. So...nevermind.

Holy crap. Bill Hall is in demand

Ken Rosenthal says that the Nationals and Orioles are interested in the services of one Bill Hall.

Bill Hall: Chesapeake Bay:: David Hasselhoff: Germany

And Ruben Sosa will sign

It looks like 23rd Round pick Ruben Sosa will sign with the Astros.

"It's really exciting. I was planning on playing here with the guys, and then I got the call. I didn't expect that call. I had a feeling, but when it happened, it kind of slapped me in the face. It was like, 'wow.'"

Sosa will head to Orlando this morning.

The Astros tried to bring back Evan Englebrook

Remember Evan Englebrook? Big guy? High heat? He wanted to go in a different direction, after the Astros added him to the 40-Man Roster.

This past offseason, the Astros "sent me to winter ball to face some major leaguers. I was hoping they'd let me face big-leaguers in September, (but) that wasn't in their plans. So I went there, and then they did offer me a contract. I just wanted to go somewhere else, start over new, somewhere fresh and go that route."

That said, he's sort of putting the severity of his arm injury off on the Astros' medical staff:
"Three years ago, I hurt my AC joint at the beach. My AC joint was sticking out. It was only a first-degree separation which, with a month's rest, it clears. I went to (the Astros) and went to their doctor, and they told me it's no big deal, you'll be fine, it's just probably all in your head, it's probably always been there. So I pitched for a month with it, and then it went to a 3rd-degree separation where I needed surgery.

"That was in August '08, and I was knocking on the door then; I think I had about a 13-, 14-inning stretch where I think I only gave up like one hit; in 11 innings I didn't give up a hit. My velocity started coming around, and I had a split change that was working. And I went with what they said and then I hurt it. ... I didn't have surgery on it until November, so they wasted three months of my time. ... I (had) said, ‘I want surgery,' and they kept saying, ‘No, no, you can rehab it.' ... I missed two months beginning the next season.

13th Round pick John Hinson got more than 13th Round money

Although financial terms weren't disclosed, John Hinson's dad said the deal was:

“A lot better deal than 13th-round.”

“Whenever I talked to the Astros and we met in Greenville, it actually ended up being not that hard of a decision to make. I love Clemson. I loved playing there. I love that program. What it means to me is something great. Whenever I looked at it, coming down and playing for the Astros was my best option. It was pretty clear. I'm just excited to be able to be able to pursue my dreams.”

Brandon Culbreth signs

The Winston-Salem Journal says that 8th Round pick Brandon Culbreth will sign with the Astros for $150,000 plus a fund to pay for his impending college education.

"I was very, very surprised. I was expecting to go anywhere from the 10th to the 40th, 50th (round). To go in the eighth, it was a big surprise. Even my agent was surprised."

Culbreth will head to Kissimmee:
"We are going to Target to load up on supplies that I can live on. It's crazy. It will hit me when I am at the airport about to board the plane. It hasn't hit me that I am a professional baseball player."

Culbreth's high school coach, Andy Partin:
"Last year, he didn't even pitch the last month of the season because he couldn't get it done. That's proof of a guy who spends a whole year in the weight room, working on his mechanics and buying into what coaches tell him to do. And he just blew up. Last year he was at 86 (miles an hour) and this year, he hit 95. That tells you that you have to commit to the weight room. This guy, he gets drafted Tuesday, and is in the weight room Tuesday and Wednesday. That tells you a lot. I couldn't be happier for him."

Dominique Taylor isn't planning on signing

33rd Round pick Dominique Taylor isn't planning on signing, but instead will likely go back to Salt Lake Community College:

"As of right now, I plan on going back (to SLCC)," Taylor said.

Taylor, 18, said he plans to meet with Astros personnel this summer before making a final decision before the Aug. 15 deadline.

Looks like Jesse Wierzbicki will sign

The Times-Herald has a good indication that 24th Round pick Jesse Wierzbicki has signed, and will head to Tri-City:

"The Astros are going to have me play some first, designated hitter and try to get me some work in left field."

This will of course happen after the University of North Carolina finishes its run in the College World Series.

Arkansas doesn't expect Jarrod McKinney back

31st Round pick Jarrod McKinney is expected to sign with the Astros, according to Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn:

(McKinney) should sign, Van Horn said because they wouldn’t have any draft leverage as seniors in 2012.

Eddie's Farm: June 9

Oklahoma City (25-35)

OKC got out to a 4-0 lead after four innings, and then held on for a 4-3 win at Omaha. Nelson Figueroa threw 6.1IP, 8H/2ER, 6K:2BB; Fernando Abad struck out both batters he faced; Ross Wolf allowed 1H/1ER, 1K:1BB in 1IP, while David Carpenter has yet to allow an earned run at OKC, striking out one in 1IP and recording his 4th save of the year.

Brian Bogusevic (2B) and Drew Locke (2B, 3RBI) had two hits each, while Tommy Manzella was 0x2 with 2BB. Koby Clemens, hitting 6th, was 1x3 with a walk.

Man of the Match: I refuse to give it to Nelson Figueroa. So, Drew Locke.

Corpus (21-37)

Corpus had a 3-0 lead in the 5th, but gave up six of the next seven runs in a 6-4 loss to Midland. Ross Seaton gave up 5H/5R (3ER), 4K:2BB in 6IP; Blake King allowed 1H/1ER, 0K:1BB in 1IP (and has allowed runs in his last three outings, out of four, since coming over from the Cardinals' organization). Patrick Urckitz gave up a hit and a walk in 0.1IP, and Matt Nevarez got two quick outs to end the game.

The story of the Hooks has become Jose Altuve - who was 2x4 with a solo homer - and is hitting .438/.455/.750 since coming up from Lancaster. Johnathan Villar was 1x4 with a double, walk, and 2RBI (and an error). T.J. Steele hit his 4th homer. J.D. Martinez was 0x4 with a strikeout and is hitting .243/.317/.243 in his last ten games.

Man of the Match: Jose Altuve

Lancaster (24-35)

Inland Empire got out to a 3-0 lead, and Lancaster couldn't make up the difference, for a 3-2 loss. Robby Donovan threw 6IP, 6H/3R (2ER), 7K:1BB, unfortunately getting the loss and dropping to 2-7. Wander Alvino threw the final 2IP, allowing 1H/0ER, 0K:1BB.

Johnathan Meyer was 2x4 with a solo homer and 2RBI, with Jay Austin, Erik Castro (BB), Austin Wates, Kody Hinze, and pinch-hitter Andy Simunic each adding a hit.

Man of the Match: Robby Donovan

Lexington (28-32)

The Lexington bullpen - assisted by the defense - imploded last night, allowing the final six runs of the game in the eighth and ninth innings to lose 8-7 at home to Hickory. Mike Foltynewicz allowed 6H/2ER, 2K:3BB in 6IP; Brian Streilein allowed 4H/2R (1ER) in 2IP, while Jorge De Leon allowed 3H/4R (0ER), 1K:1BB in 1IP. Errors by Ray King, two from Mike Kvasnicka, and Delino DeShields helped all of that.

Jiovanni Mier was 3x6 with two doubles, Adam Bailey was 3x4 with a double, walk, and 2RBI; Roberto Pena was 2x4 with a double and a homer.

Man of the Match: Jiovanni Mier

DSL Astros (5-3)

The Astros were down 3-1, but got four late runs for a 5-3 win against the DSL Yankees2. Agapito Barrios threw 6IP, 5H/3ER, 4K:0BB; Jandel Gustave walked four in 1+IP but emerged otherwise unscathed; while Yeudy Perdomo threw 2IP, 0H/0ER, 2K:1BB, getting the win.

Juan Santana (2BB), Darwin Rivera (RBI), Franny Polanco (RBI), and Jose Solano (RBI) had two hits each.

Man of the Match: Juan Santana

From the Office of the County Clerk - G63: Astros v. Cardinals

Well that sucked all kinds of things. Cards score five in the 6th, and beat the Astros 9-2.

*The Astros drop to 2-6 against St. Louis, yet still hold the series lead since the beginning of 2010, 12-11.

*Since the out-of-nowhere four-game win streak, the Astros are 1-5.

*J.A. Happ threw 5.1IP, allowing 6H/6ER, 5K:2BB. The loss drops Happ to 3-8, and that 8th loss ties him with Jeremy Guthrie and John Danks for most in the Majors.

*Wilton Lopez allowed two baserunners (1H/1BB) - and three of Happ's runs - in one out. In his last ten games, Lopez has 8K:8BB, walking at least one batter in seven of those games. This is incredible, as Lopez only walked five batters in 67IP in 2010.

*Jeff Fulchino struck out two batters in 1IP, but allowed 2H/1ER. Fernando Rodriguez gave up two solo homers (striking out four) in 2IP. In Rodriguez' first four appearances, he managed to allow 2H/0ER, 6K:2BB in 4.2IP. In his last two appearances (3IP), he's allowed 4H/3ER, 6K:0BB.

*The Astros, as an offense, managed seven hits - all singles. It's the first time since May 10 (26 games), and the third time this season, that they did not get an extra-base hit.

*Hunter Pence extended his hitting streak to 20 games with a 2x4 night. In those 20 games, 11 of those have been multi-hit games, and his OPS has risen 70 points (.777 to .847).

*Carlos Lee didn't get a hit, but drew two walks - again - for the third straight game. The last time he had drawn even one walk in three straight games was August 1-3, 2010.

*So far in June, Brett Wallace - in six games - is 7x22 with 5K:4BB, hitting .318/.423/.409. He has two extra-base hits - both doubles.

*Man of the Match: Hunter Pence

*Goat of the Game: Wilton Lopez

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Astros sign LHP Paris Shewey

Washington State LHP Paris Shewey has signed as an undrafted free agent.

Says Washington State:
The southpaw tied for the Pacific-10 Conference regular season lead with 10 saves in 2011. He led the Cougars with 23 appearances and his save total is tied for third on the Washington State all-time single-season list. He will report to the Gulf Coast League Astros in Kissimmee, Fla.

More signings!

The Astros have officially signed:

5th Round pick - Nick Tropeano
22nd Round pick - Drew Muren
41st Round pick - Chase Davidson
44th Round pick - Blake Ford
45th Round pick - Chris Epps

Astros release Francis Beltran

The Astros have released OKC pitcher Francis Beltran, so sez Brian McTaggart.

Buddy Lamothe determined to pitch again

Here's something that I would spend a 1st Round Christmas pick on: Buddy Lamothe pitching again:

San Jac head coach Tom Arrington:
"He's really looking forward to creating an environment to give him the strength and help him get back to pitching...Buddy is a strong-willed young man that is going to fight to overcome his tragedy."

Springer knows his place in Astros lore

While we're all hoping that it happens, George Springer knows he's not Jeff Bagwell:

"I can never put myself in the same sentence as Jeff Bagwell since he's an all-time great. It's nice to know that a player has gone down to Houston from Connecticut and put together one of the greatest careers any ballplayer could ever have. It's up to me to establish my own legacy and hopefully I can follow a similar path by making a significant impact for the Astros over a long-term period."

6th Round pick Brandon Meredith is on his way to Tri-City

Brandon Meredith tweeted earlier:

First meeting with the Astros last night went well... I should be getting a deal done early next week then off to the Tri City Valley Cats...

And it looks like Nick Tropeano will sign

CBS New York has some pretty compelling evidence that 5th Round pick Nick Tropeano will sign:

The Astros are flying him out Sunday to start training.

Pretty solid detective work on our part, no?

John Hinson is off to Tri-City

But that might not be it. According to John Hinson's dad the Astros will send 13th Round pick Hinson to Tri-City, and then on to Lancaster.

J.D. Hinson:
“He’s going to stay down (In Kissimmee) five or six days, then they’re going to fly him to Albany, N.Y., to play in the New York-Penn League. I was thinking it’d be pretty cool; he could be in Lexington and I could see him play in the Sally League. That’s not their plans. Their plans are to send him to High-A in (Lancaster) California. If he can hit, which that’s his strength, they say there’s a chance he could be at Double-A by the end of next year.”

Talk about a fast-track...

Astros to sign Justin Gill

Kent State righty reliever Justin Gill signed as a free agent today with the Astros.

Gill went 4-2 in 27 appearances, allowing 25H/10ER, 32K:15BB in 35.2IP, holding opponents to a .198 BA.

Gill will come to Kissimmee this weekend.

Here's some info on David Haerle

We were looking for more info on 39th Round pick RHP David Haerle. And we found some!

College of the Canyons head coach Chris Cota:
“What that is is David Haerle has a real good arm and he is still learning how to use it. He’s going to be a good one the Astros think and we think he’s going to be a good one, too.”

Cota thinks he's such a good one, in fact, that he wants Haerle to return next season.

In the same article, 46th Round pick Justin Shults had stopped following the draft:
“I was a little relieved once I got it. It’s good to get the recognition and the chance to play at next level. Let’s see how long it lasts.”

38th Round pick Brad Propst was at a gas station

When the Astros selected pitcher Brad Propst in the 38th Round, he was at a gas station.

"This was a little bit of a surprise. I didn't expect to get picked by Houston. I was shocked. I was getting a little nervous because it was getting late in the draft. My dad called me and told me I got picked. I was at a gas station."

It looks as though he'll sign, as he will report to the Astros on Monday to learn where he'll be assigned. Propst:
"They're ready to get me going. It is a good feeling to get picked and to be able to keep playing baseball. This has always been a dream of mine, and it is good to get to pursue a dream."

While very happy, 34th Round pick might go on to Navarro

34th Round pick Dustin Kellogg is quite excited about being drafted:

“As a little kid, I dreamed this would happen. I never dreamed it would come true. Another bonus is I get to play a little kid’s game for money."

Caney Creek head coach Kyle Tidwell, on Kellogg:
“He’s real strong on the mound. He has a low 90s fastball. Every time he took the mound, you knew he was going to strike out over 10 guys, so you knew you were going to be in the game. Any part of the count, he could throw his slider and get somebody out.”

Still, Kellogg has not decided if he'll sign, or play for NJCAA Division I champion Navarro College.

42nd Round pick Hoke Granger wasn't expecting to get drafted

Here's an article on 42nd Round pick Hoke Granger, who wasn't expecting to get drafted, thanks to a fractured back. He found out he'd been drafted on his way to a doctor's appointment.

The Astros expressed high interest for several weeks in Granger and invited him to a pre-draft workout in Houston June 2, an invitation usually extended to possible top 20 round picks. After Northside’s season, it was learned Granger had a fracture in his back and the workout was canceled.

“The injury kept me from being seen by the general manager and the higher up cross checkers,” Granger said. “They indicated I would have probably gone higher (if not for the injury).”

Granger said he'll likely move on to college, and re-enter the draft.

Feeling Donate-y?

Then you can donate to 40th Round pick Buddy Lamothe's medical expenses.

Within this article we learn that Lamothe may be transferred to outpatient care in "the next few weeks."

4th, 13th Round picks sign

Stephen Goff has been on a roll, reporting that the Astros 4th Round pick LHP Chris Lee, and 13th Round pick infielder John Hinson have signed.

44th Round pick Blake Ford signs

Stephen Goff says that 44th Round pick Blake Ford has signed with the Astros.

"I was eyeing every pick the first two days of the Draft, but I wasn't able to do it today. I had committed to helping out at a Little League camp. When my phone started beeping with so many text messages from friends, family and teammates, I knew I had been drafted. I saw it was the Astros and I couldn't have been happier."

Goff also says that he just so happened to be in Houston for last night's Cardinals game, and signed at Minute Maid park.


June 9

*Astros activate Brandon Lyon, send Jose Valdez back to OKC.

Sent Up

*June 8: Wladimir Sutil, from Corpus to OKC.

Sent Down

*June 8: Jose Vallejo, from OKC to Corpus.
*June 8: Andy Simunic, from Corpus to Lancaster.
*June 8: Bryce Lane, from Lancaster to Lexington.


*June 8: Carlos Corporan, from OKC's 7-Day DL
*June 8: Jon Gaston, from Corpus' temporarily inactive list

Eddie's Farm: June 8

Oklahoma City (24-35)


Corpus (21-36)

Corpus crept out to a 2-0 lead after two innings, then watched Midland creep back to tie it, but an 8th-inning go-ahead homer by Jimmy Paredes wins it, 3-2. Wandy Rodriguez made a rehab start, allowing 6H/1ER, 2K:1BB in 56 pitches over 4IP. Arcenio Leon allowed 2H/1ER, 0K:2BB in 1IP, and Jonnathan Aristil gets the win with 4IP of hitless relief, striking out five and walking just two.

Johnathan Villar (BB, SB), Jose Altuve (of course), and Jimmy Van Ostrand (3B, RBI) had two hits each.

Man of the Match: Jonnathan Aristil

Lancaster (24-34)


Lexington (28-31)


From the Office of the County Clerk: G62 - Astros v Cardinals

Bud Norris just might be the Ace, and Lance Berkman can get food poisoning, as far as I'm concerned. Astros win 4-1.

*Bud Norris took a no-hitter into the 7th before Berkman hit his 14th homerun (tying his total between Houston and New York in 2010, by the by) with two outs.

*Norris ended up throwing 8IP, 1H/1ER, 2K:5BB - but only throwing first-pitch strikes to 12 of the 27 batters he faced. He also only needed 104 pitches to get through those 27 batters.

*In three of the walks Norris allowed, he got a double play later in the inning to erase the runner.

*The two hits allowed tie a season best, when he gave up two hits in 6IP vs. San Diego in G13, and while it was the fourth time in his career of giving up just two hits - it's the first time he'd done it while throwing more than 7IP.

*Since April 30, Norris has thrown 53IP, allowing 42H/21ER, 49K:23BB.

*Jason Bourgeois made his first start - in place of Michael Bourn - coming back from his DL stint, and went 2x5 with a double and a stolen base.

*Hunter Pence was 1x4 with a triple, extending his hitting streak to 19 games. He was hitting .280/.332/.446 (.778 OPS) when the streak started, and is now hitting .313/.356/.488 (.844).

*Carlos Lee was 1x2 with two walks, giving him back-to-back 2BB games. Of the 15 walks he has drawn this season, seven have come in the past ten games.

*J.R. Towles was 2x4 with a double, getting his batting average over .200 for the first time since May 31. He has three hits - two doubles - in his past seven ABs.

*Jason Michaels got the start in LF, and responded with a 2x4, RBI game. When he starts, he's 8x33 (.242/.265/.394). But as the valued Bat Off The Bench, he's 0x12 with three walks.

*Man of the Match: Bud Norris!

*Goat of the Game: Lance Berkman.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A.J. Murray doesn't know what he'll do

The 48th Round pick, A.J. Murray, isn't sure what he'll do, besides pitch on Saturday for the state championship.

Murray said he has not had time to think about the ramifications of the Astros draft on his future plans. He said he wants to take time to think it over and talk to the Astros before making a final decision.

“I remember watching Roger Clemens on the Astros. They have a good organization there. It is real honor to be drafted by them.”

The Astros didn't draft Buddy Lamothe for the notoriety

Ed Wade would like to make it very clear that the Astros didn't draft 40th Round pick Buddy Lamothe for the notoriety, says KHOU:

"We thought it would be something that would pick the kid’s spirits up and make him feel good. It’s something he can talk about for the rest of his life. We hope that this is part of the progress he is going to make on a lot of different fronts. I’m sure there will be an opportunity for us to get him out to the ballpark and say hello to him first hand."

Ariel Ovando headed to Greeneville

Zach Levine says that $2.6m international signee Ariel Ovando is headed to the Appalachian League's Greeneville Astros.

Yeah, we like Brandon Meredith

6th Round pick Brandon Meredith tweeted:

It's funny how as soon as you get drafted you feel apart of a team almost immediately... I'm an Astro and it feels damn good!!

Forbes, on Bank of America and Jim Crane

Taking a break from the Draft, let's link to a Forbes article by Mike Ozanian, reporting that Bank of America (who has my meager checking account) is "only" financing $220m of Jim Crane's $680m purchase of the Astros, with BoA learning a deep lesson that probably impacts me as a BoA user:

With bankruptcy being mentioned as possibility, who knows if Bank of America will get its money back from McCourt?

BOA has apparently learned its lesson. The bank is reportedly loaning Jim Crane just $220 million towards his $680 milli0n purchase of the Houston Astros from billionaire Drayton McLane, or only about one-third of the enterprise value. Although the deal is still highly leveraged by MLB’s guidelines, it is much better capitalized than McCourt’s purchase of the Dodgers.

BOA’s prudence may come in handy given attendance for the Astros at Minute Maid Park is down 4% from last season.

The Astros talked money with a draft pick before deciding

That's according to Keith Mills, who talked to K.J. Hockaday, whom the Orioles drafted in the 14th Round.

Hockaday (and Mills):
Day two of the draft began at 12 p.m. Two hours later, the Hockadays' phone rang. It was Everett Tull, the Mid-Atlantic area scout for the Houston Astros, who told Hockaday the Astros wanted to pick him in the sixth round.

"But we couldn't agree on the money," Hockaday said.

So back to the computer screen he went.

Finally, as 3 p.m. turned into 4, the phone rang again. This time it was his Dean Albany, the Orioles' regional cross checker and Brooklyn Park High grad, who first began scouting Hockaday when he was a sophomore at John Carroll three years ago.

"Dean called and said the Orioles were going to pick me in the 14th round," Hockaday said. "I couldn't believe it. The Orioles! I dreamed about playing baseball since I was 3 years old. Baseball's been my main priority and I've tried always make good decisions."

The Astros took Brandon Meredith instead.

Looks like Chris Lee will sign

4th Round pick Chris Lee will probably sign, if we don't read too much into this quote, from Santa Fe coach Johnny Wiggs:

"Chris has so much ability and continued to improve throughout the year. He has a chance to be a great one for the Houston Astros if he continues to work hard and we wish him all the best as he enters his professional career."

Houser to OU? Not so fast, my friend...

The Pryor Daily Times has a quote from Adrian Houser (that may or may not be from

Baseball is my life, and I want to go play pro ball, and I want to get in the minor league system so I can learn everything as fast as I can, so I can work my way up to the majors as fast as I can. It's just going to be a process that's going to take some time, probably. I've got a lot of thinking to do."

Houser's father, Mike:

"I think if things work out the way we think they're going to, I think he'll probably be an Astro. But I don't know that for sure."

With their 50th Round pick...

...The Astros select 6'3" 190lb Colton Davis, out of Lake Wales High School in Florida.

Davis is more easily found as a touted wide receiver, but has signed a LOI to play baseball for Auburn, turning down a football scholarship from Northern Illinois.

With their 49th Round pick...

...The Astros select 6'5" 205lb David Peterson, junior RHP out of the College of Charleston.

He's originally from Walnut Creek, California, and was a 40th Round draft pick out of high school by the Reds in 2008. He was a 2009 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American, and was 8-3 in 15 starts in 2010, with 68K:21BB in 86.2IP.

In 2011, he was 5-6 with a 4.52 ERA, and 103H/44ER in 87.2IP, with 56K:29BB, and a .302 BAA, hitting 19 batters.

With their 48th Round pick...

...The Astros select 6'2" 215lb A.J. Murray, catcher out of Westfield High School in New Jersey.

Back in November 2010, Murray signed an LOI with Georgia Tech (meaning, "don't expect him to take 48th Round money.")

In 2010 Murray hit .482 with 12 doubles, 33 runs, 26 RBI and a .735 SLG.

With their 47th Round pick...

...The Astros select 5'10" 190lb Zach Hardoin, LHP out of the University of Missouri.

He's originally from Spring, and came to Missouri from Blinn College.

With their 46th Round pick...

...The Astros select 6'3" 205lb Justin Shults, a senior 1B out of UC-Riverside.

Shults hit .293/.412/.424 for UC-Riverside, with 43K:27BB and 26RBI.

In 2010, he was a 1st-Team All-Big West Conference selection.

With their 45th Round pick...

...The Astros select 6'0" 190lb Chris Epps, a senior OF out of Clemson.

Epps was Clemson's co-captain in 2011, and was the starting RF, but also played CF, and mostly DH. In his career, he drew a walk out of 3.97ABs.

In 2011, Epps hit .292/.422/.497, with 10HR, 42RBI, 58K:41BB in 195 ABs.

In November 2010, Epps said, about Clemson:

"Clemson seemed like the right fit for me. I didn't believe it was necessary to rush a pro career, plus, an education is so important. Clemson is one of the top programs in the nation, and I knew that playing here would help me gain the experience needed to have a future in pro baseball."

With their 44th Round pick...

...The Astros select 6'5" 215lb Blake Ford, a RHP out of Lamar University.

Ford comes out of Lufkin HS, where he posted a 3.42 ERA, going 6-4, allowing 112H/39ER, 78K:31BB in 102.2IP with a .293 BAA for Lamar, leading the team in wins, starts, complete games (4), and just about everything else.

With their 43rd Round pick...

...The Astros select 6'1" 180lb David Grimes, OF out of Upton Lakes Christian School in New York.

We can find absolutely nothing about David Grimes.

With their 42nd Round pick...

...The Astros select 6'2" 200lb Hoke Granger, a CF out of Northside Methodist Academy (HS) in Alabama.

Granger was the 89th-ranked player in Alabama, where MaxPreps went on to say:
D1 prospect OF, power hitter. Winner of 2010 Wiregrass HR Derby vs. 46 tri state high school hitters. High average and power hitter, team captain, a leader! Recently had pro workout where he hit 8 HR's with a wooden bat and ran a 6.87 cross over 60! 30 games into season 2nd in nation in RBI's, 3rd in HR's.

And, imagine that, Granger has committed to Gulf Coast Community College, after hitting .441 with eight homers and 21RBIs.

From that previous link, we find, from Granger:
One of the most relieving things I have ever done in my life was signing on that line to finally not worry about where I was going next year. It is a great feeling to know something I have worked for 10-15 years has happened. As long as I have been playing baseball, what I wanted to do one day was play college baseball. To finally meet that goal is an awesome feeling. I went for a workout and I liked both coaches (Kandler and assistant coach Michael Murphree). It is a great program, a well-respected program, one of the best junior college programs in the nation. I am real excited about playing there. I think it will be a good experience. I will grow and mature as a baseball player and get some exposure down there.

And don't expect him to sign:
They (Houston Astros) said they would probably take me, but I would like to get some of that college experience before stepping into that level. I would like to mature more as a baseball player. Going from high school to pros and thrown in June 15 into rookie ball is such a huge step. I know it will be in my best interest to get more experience under my belt before I make that decision. Unless it is lot more than I think they will take me for (financially), I will probably go to college. I am excited about that. I would prefer that.

With their 41st Round pick...

...The Astros select 6'5" 222lb Chase Davidson, 1B out of Georgia.

Perhaps you remember Davidson from the Fateful 2008 Draft, when the Astros selected him with their 3rd Round pick, and then weren't able to sign him.

Ballyhooed as a high school prospect, Davidson went on to Georgia, where he hit .231 in 2009, .189 in 2010, and bounced back with a .278/.341/.497 line in 2011, with 50K:13BB.

With their 40th Round pick...

...The Astros select 6'3" 225lb Buddy Lamothe, a RHP out of San Jacinto College (North).

Back in May, Lamothe was injured in a swimming accident, where he fractured his vertebrae, and is paralyzed.

His old AD called the move a "tremendous honor."

Best of luck to him in his recovery.

With their 39th Round pick...

...The Astros select 6'2" 195lb David Haerle, a RHP out of College of the Canyons.

As of May 12, 2011 Haerle threw 11.1IP, 16H/10ER, 6K:14BB in 14 appearances.

Beyond that, we have virtually no idea who this guy is. So, if you know him, drop us a line, why don't you?

With their 38th Round pick...

...The Astros select 6'1" 180lb Brad Propst, a senior RHP out of Oklahoma State.

Propst was 7-6 with a 3.66 ERA in 16 starts with three complete games, throwing a team-high 103.1IP, allowing 95H/42ER, 69K:20BB, with opponents hitting .247 against him.

In March, catcher Jared Womack said of Propst:
“He hits his spots constantly and just is a winner.”

How did he get to OSU? Let's ask head coach Frank Anderson:
"(OSU assistant Greg Evans) recruited him at Frank Phillips because we needed a shortstop, and he might be our best shortstop. But he can't hit at all. We tried him on the mound two years ago and had some success, and last year obviously it was even better. "This year, the first two-thirds of the season he was outstanding, but I think he's hit a little bit of a wall because the innings number is higher than he's ever been to."

With their 37th Round pick...

...The Astros select 6'6" 225lb Steve Martin, a RHP out of - again - Texas A&M.

The fact that his name is Steve Martin makes it easy to find things out about him. Still, it's what we're here for, so we can rule out his role in the Three Amigos, a Grammy-winning banjo player, or successful novelist.

Nope, this Steve Martin threw in 10 games - all out of the bullpen - for A&M, posting a 5.79 ERA, with 9H/6ER, 3K:4BB in 9.1IP.

In 2010, he only played in three games, and appeared in two games in 2009.

His career goal is to get into real estate development.

With their 36th Round pick...

...The Astros select 5'10" 190lb Kevin Gonzalez, a senior catcher out of Texas A&M.

Gonzalez graduated from Mayde Creek HS, and in 2010 was a 2nd-Team All-Big 12 selection as a catcher, throwing out 16 of 45 basestealers.

In 2011, he hit .250/.303/.385, with 5HR (2nd on the team), 33K:13BB, and a .993 Fld%. .

Last week, Gonzalez said:
"The one thing I take pride in myself and I always tell everybody is, I wish I took as much pride in hitting as I do catching because I know that what I do behind the plate is special and not everybody can do it. Not saying I'm the best but I know that's what I take pride in."

Coach Rob Childress:
"He catches the ball and the ability [for us] to be able to throw a breaking ball in the dirt with two strikes and runners on is something we all take for granted, I'm talking the pitching coach and the pitchers. Our guys love throwing to him."

There's a good chance he'll sign, with this quote:
"If they give me the bus ticket I'll be there."

Here you can read both of Gonzalez' entries on his blog for

With their 35th Round pick...

...The Astros select 6'5" 205lb RHP Chris Morales, a 17-year old out of Clear Creek High School.

According to MaxPreps, Morales hit .400/.463/.813 in 211 with 36RBI, 10K:12BB.

Morales hit .400 in 2010

Here's a video of Morales hitting a walk-off grand slam in April 2010.

With their 34th Round pick...

...The Astros select 6'4" 185lb RHP Dustin Kellogg, out of Caney Creek High School (Texas).

MaxPreps had him ranked as the 345th best player in Texas, and listed him - at some point - with a 3.10 ERA, allowing 21H/13ER in 29.1IP.

Caney Creek head coach Kyle Tidwell said that Kellogg is "a guy they could look for to be a great starter. A lot of upside."

With their 33rd Round pick...

...The Astros select 6'1" 190lb CF Dominique Taylor, an 18-year old out of Salt Lake Community College.

Taylor started in all 65 games for SLCC, hitting .385/.450/.566, with 19K:15BB, and 24 stolen bases in 29 attempts.

With their 32nd Round pick...

...The Astros select 6'3" 175lb RHP Zach Dando, a 20-year old out of Central Arizona College.

Dando has signed with USC.

In 2010, Dando threw in 15 games with a 4-2 record and a 3.54 ERA.

Central Arizona head coach Joe Wente had this to say about Dando last month:

Zach has improved so much this year. Last year, he struggled many times with his command. This year the command has been very good. He throws in the upper 80s to low 90s and can be very dominant at times. He has a very good slider and his change has really improved throughout the year. I am not sure what Zach’s plans will be this summer because the major league draft could give him another option.

With their 31st Round pick...

...The Astros select 5'11" 205lb junior RF, 21-year old Jarrod McKinney out of the University of Arkansas.

McKinney comes out of Hughes Springs HS (Texas). Arkansas coach Van Horn said of McKinney, prior to this season:

"Jarrod is an outstanding athlete. I feel that he's really turned the corner. He had a season-ending knee injury midway through the season last year and that hurt us. We feel like he's made a big jump with the bat. He's rehabbed and worked as hard as anyone to come back and have a tremendous junior year. I think Jarrod has a great opportunity to be one of our starting outfielders. He can also play some first base. Offensively, he had a tremendous fall. Hopefully he can continue that."

In 2011, McKinney played in 54 games (50 starts), hitting .301/.398/.434 in 166 ABs, with 41K:20BB.

Perfect Game wrote in 2007:

He was a dynamic defensive outfielder with pro level right field tools. McKinney's offensive game wasn't as polished but the tools are there as well. He has a simple hitting approach and does a good job keeping his swing short to the ball. He has very good bat speed and present gap to gap power. McKinney attacked the ball aggressively early in counts and is not going to let a fastball get by him. He's still working on his timing, especially with his front foot. All the tools are there and they are the type that play in the pros. McKinney has also has an all out, hustling attitude that was unmistakable as well.

Jack Armstrong, once injured, now The Man

Here's a nice article on Astros 3rd Round pick Jack Armstrong, son of the similarly-named former ML pitcher, who will be handling the younger Armstrong's negotiations...when it's time:

"I haven't even given it two thoughts. My dad doesn't want me to [focus on signing] and neither do I. It's just a way to kind of focus on the task at hand, what we've got ahead of us. We've got plenty of time after the season's finished to negotiate all that stuff and find the right path for me."

Armstrong, who had some elbow issues earlier in the year, has apparently put that behind him, sitting between 96-98 on the radar gun.

Gandy Stubblefield might want to be an Aggie more than he wants to be an Astro

14th Round pick Gandy Stubblefield has a dream, and it might not involve the Astros:

“I’ve always wanted to be an Aggie, so the Astros will have to make a good offer. A guy from the Astros called (later) and said we’re going to sit down and talk about things. I’ll talk it over with my family and my adviser and we’ll decide what’s best.”

Tyson Perez has two options

17th Round pick Tyson Perez - who missed 2010 with a torn labrum - has two options:

"It's either me going to play pro ball or going to get one year of school under my belt. I'm going to listen to what [the Astros] have to say, and I should be making a decision in the next couple of days."

Chris Lee couldn't sleep, and Javaris Reynolds will start talking today

One stone, two birds as Tampa Bay Online talked to 4th Round pick Chris Lee:

"This is very overwhelming right now. This stress is probably the greatest stress in my life...I woke up about four-something in the morning, turned on the video game and started playing. I couldn't sleep from stressing."

Meanwhile, 7th Round pick Javaris Reynolds' high school coach Jim Macaluso says that Reynolds will meet with the Astros today "to discuss signability."

Jerome Solomon thinks we'll love George Springer

Jerome Solomon wrote about 1st Round pick George Springer, and his coach predicts that we fans will get life-size tattoos of him on our bodies.

UConn head coach Jim Penders:
"I'd love to see a level where they consistently get him out. He's a special talent and a special kid. The Astros got a good one."

"I will play as hard as I possibly can every day and do whatever it takes to help the organization win."

Not even Adrian Houser knows what Adrian Houser's signing bonus will be

Our buddy Ryan Aber has a story about Astros 2nd Round pick Adrian Houser, and his getting all drafted and stuff:

“I’m pretty excited about it. I’m not sure what will happen now. My adviser has a number in mind, but I’m not even sure exactly what it is.”

Jonas Dufek will probably sign pretty quickly

The Omaha World-Herald talked to 9th Round pick Jonas Dufek, to see what his plans were:

“They told me they would contact me after the draft and we could start talking contract and things like that. I want to sign as quick as I can and get down to short-season rookie ball. I’m excited to get this all started."

Tropeano one step closer to his dream

In the first of what will be a barrage of articles in the coming days, the Astros' 5th Round pick Nick Tropeano is quite excited about what's coming up for his career.

"Words can’t explain how excited I am. It’s been my dream ever since I grabbed a baseball. I’ve been working my whole life for this moment, and it’s just one step closer to getting to my ultimate dream.”

Writer Jim Mancari:
While Tropeano sports a four-pitch arsenal, it was his competiveness that opened the scouts’ eyes. Though his fastball does not light up the radar gun (he sits in the high-80s), his above-average change-up has been his primary strikeout weapon. In addition to his 12-1 record and 1.84 ERA in his junior season, he struck out 119 batters in just 93.0 innings.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

With their 30th Round pick...

...The Astros select 6'3" 195lb 21-year old 3B junior out of Penn State, Jordan Steranka.

In 54 games, Steranka hit .323/.391/.544, with 27XBH-57RBI, 34K:25BB, and 22 errors for an .862 Fld%.

He was an All-Conference selection as a freshman.

With their 29th Round pick...

...The Astros select 6'5" 230lb Wallace Gonzalez, an 18-year old RF out of Bishop Amat High School in California.

Last year, Perfect Game wrote:
Outstanding athletic build, well proportioned with plus strength, looks taller than list. Fast for size, 7.13 60, good arm strength in the outfield, strong on line accurate throws. Open stance hitting, double toe tap trigger, long and strong swing, limited hand use, rotational upper body swing, raw strength produces bat speed, obvious power potential. Good student.

He has committed to play for the University of New Mexico. Or San Diego.

With their 28th Round pick...

...The Astros select 6'3" LHP Jordan John, a 20-year old sophomore out of the University of Oklahoma.

John - originally from Calallen - went 4-2 in 20 appearances (seven starts) with a 2.35 ERA, allowing 55H/16ER, 54K:18BB in 61.1IP, and holding opponents to a .233 BAA.

John has already undergone Tommy John surgery, missing 2010.

With their 27th Round pick...

...The Astros select 6'2" 190lb senior shortstop Alex Todd, a 21-year old out of Sonoma State University in California.

Todd played in 57 games (54 starts), hitting .332/.420/.467 with 38 RBI, 33K:22BB in 214 ABs, with a .956 Fld%.

Head coach John Goelz, following Sonoma State's season-ending loss, on Todd:
“Alex is a reflection of our entire team. He brought a lot to the program and helped make the other guys on the team better."

With their 26th Round pick...

...The Astros select 18-year old 6'4" 235lb RHP Jared Fisher, out of Newport High School in Washington.

Fisher finished 2011 8-2 in 51IP, 36H/14ER for a 1.92ERA and a .196 BAA, with 64K:23BB.

Back in March, Baseball America had Fisher at 86-89mph.

Perfect Game wrote last year:
has a premium pitcher's build, tall, long and lean. In his two innings of work he showed why he is one of the top arms in the 2011 class. He threw with ease, demonstrating sound mechanics throughout. Really has an idea on the mound and gets ahead with his fastball to set up offspeed. His curveball is a tight spinner with sharp 11-5 break and buckles hitters frequently and he also features a mid 70's changeup with fade that shows a lot of promise. Works down in the zone, and hides the ball well, really makes it difficult on hitters. Very high ceiling from him, and will be one to follow in the future.

Fisher signed an LOI to play for Washington back in November:
"I couldn't go wrong with any of those schools, but I couldn't picture myself playing for any other team but Washington. I couldn't imagine playing against the Huskies. I liked Oregon a lot, but in my heart, it was always Washington."

Here's some video!

With their 25th Round pick...

...The Astros select lefty Left fielder Billy Flamion, a 6'1" 195lb 18-year old out of Central Catholic High School in California.

Baseball Beginnings wrote, a couple of weeks ago:
I don’t think there’s a lot of guesswork with this guy. Somebody will take a run at him early to see what becomes of the raw left-handed power in his bat. He’s not going to be a toolsy guy outside the arm, which I can go with a 5 on. Won’t run, won’t cover a lot of ground in the outfield, probably won’t hit for a Wade Boggs-like average. So he’s a power corner with an average arm if he pans out.

Perfect Game wrote last year:
Strong well proportioned athletic build, fairly mature. 6.82 runner, moves well to the ball, very good arm strength, still working on release fundamentals, outfield tools. Left handed hitter, leg raise trigger, very aggressive swing, plus bat speed, shows raw power, short to the ball for a power swing, good contact, ball jumps hard. Also pitched, 86-88 mph fastball, fast paced delivery, good depth to his curveball, nice spin/shape, high 3/4's release point. Top level athlete.

Last August, ESPN Rise covered Flamion in the Area Code Games, and he addresses his signability:
"It'd be cool just to say I got drafted, but I plan on going to Oregon. I want to be the first person in my family to go to college so that's been my goal for a long time."

It'll be interesting to see what he does in the coming weeks.

Here's a scouting video.

With their 24th Round pick...

...The Astros select 6'3" 200lb senior 1B Jesse Wierzbicki, a 22-year old out of the University of North Carolina.

Wierzbicki started 60 games, getting 209ABs and posting a .301/.402/.493 line for the Tar Heels, with 44K:31BB, 23XBH-39RBI, and a .996 Fld%.

We can hope that God's plan includes Wierzbicki signing soon:
"I am hopeful a team will pick me and give me a chance. I am going to do what I can. I know that God has a plan for me and all I can do is go along for the ride."

With their 23rd Round pick...

...The Astros selected switch-hitting 2B Ruben Sosa, a 5'7" 170lb 20-year old junior out of Oklahoma City University.

Sosa, out of Lawrence, Massachusetts, led off for OCU, and lists his career plans as a two-parter: Graduate from OCU and "play professional baseball." Well done!

Sosa hit .373/.446/.556 for OCU, with 25XBH/42RBI, with 27K:22BB, and 44 stolen bases out of 49 attempts and a .990 Fld%.

The Seacoast Mavericks had signed him to play in their collegiate baseball league, where Mavericks Director of Baseball Operations Mike Daboul said: "Ruben possesses tremendous speed and range as both a shortstop and outfielder. He has big league speed, better than average arm strength, and has some pop in that bat."

With their 22nd Round Pick

...The Astros select 6'0" 195lb senior CF Drew Muren, a 22-year old out of Cal State-Northridge.

In 2011, Muren hit .306/.397/.451 in 56 games for CS-N, with 35K:26BB, and was named the Big West Co-Player of the Week on March 14.

Head coach Matt Curtis, on Muren's honor:
"Drew's been swinging the bat well all year. His plate discipline has improved in the last week and he has found more pitches he can drive leading to more extra base hits and run production. We hope Drew continues making progress as we continue to prepare for conference play."

How Adrian Houser found out he had been drafted...

The Tahlequah Daily Press' Ben Johnson tweeted about 2nd-round pick Adrian Houser:

How did Adrian Houser find out he was drafted? Friends texted &congratulated him while he was @ the hospital with his sick grandpa.

With their 21st Round pick...

...The Astros select 6'2" 185lb shortstop Jimmy Howick, a 20-year old junior out of Jacksonville University.

Howick hit .319/.368/.440 in 54 games for Jacksonville in 2011, with 29K:15BB and 15XBH/46RBI, and a .932 Fld% (15 errors in 220 chances).

With their 20th Round pick...

...The Astros select 6'3" 215lb 3B Matt Duffy, a senior out of the University of Tennessee.

Duffy started 54 games for the Volunteers, hitting .312/.429/.497 with 22XBH/39RBI, and 26K:28BB, with 13 HBPs in 2011.

Duffy transferred from the University of Vermont (he's based out of Milton, Massachusetts), when he transferred to the other UT, in Knoxville, because Vermont cut its baseball program, after being named the 2009 America East player of the year (hitting .388 with 13HR/57RBI).

Recently-fired UT head-coach Todd Raleigh, on Duffy:
"You can talk recruiting and we certainly sign first rounders out of high school and all these top picks. But they're still unproven in college, I don't care if they have five stars or four stars, it doesn't matter. When you have an opportunity to get somebody who is already established in college baseball, that's the best indicator, to me, of success because he's already achieved success at this level."

Here's a terrible story (in content - not taking a shot at the writer) on his sister, who passed away last summer at the age of 22. Duffy:
“I’d do the same thing everyday. I’d wake up, go work out and spend the day (at the hospital), just hanging out with her. I tried to stay occupied, but it was the only thing on my mind 24-7.”

With their 19th Round pick...

...The Astros select 6'1" 195lb LHP Mitchell Lambson, a 21-year old junior out of Arizona State.

This past season, Lambson was 7-3 in 29 appearances (two starts), with eight saves. In 49IP, he allowed 54H/24ER, 59K:11BB, with opponents hitting .276 - a team high.

Lambson was a 2010 First-Team All-Pac-10 winner, going 8-2 with three saves, striking out 96 batters in 75IP, with opponents hitting .160.

Baseball Beginnings has a little something about Lambson, from January 2011:

The seperator for Lambson is the above-average change-up, CHG in shorthand, though some scouts might write OMG. I had it at 72-74 and I’m sold on the arm slot repetition. These lefties with the change-up need to have a fearless side to them, the willingness to throw it any time in the count. Maybe you don’t get a chance to do that in college baseball, but you do against wood. He won’t be an overpowering guy so the change , the moxie and the downhill fastball movement will punch the ticket. I can see him as a fast-riser bullpen arm but wouldn’t put pro starting past him.

With their 18th Round pick...

...The Astros select 6'0" 195lb RHP Kevin Miller, a 21-year old senior out of Cal.

Cal Baseball says at the beginning of the season that Miller is:
One of the Bears' top hurlers with the ability to either start or be a top right-handed reliever.

In 2011, Miller was 6-4 with 20 games (9 starts) with a 2.62 ERA. In 79IP, he allowed 70H/23ER, 84K:13BB, and a .240 BAA.

He was a California Muscle Milk Student-Athlete of the Week, named as such on April 4, 2011.

Here's the Daily Californian's video of Miller's slowed-down wind-up:

With their 17th Round pick...

...The Astros select 6'3" 215lb RHP Tyson Perez, a 21-year old out of Fresno City College.

Perez was a 2011 1st-Team All-Conference winner at FCC, going 5-3 in 13 appearances (10 starts), allowing 65H/27ER, 63K:24BB in 69.2IP, with a .253 BAA, and didn't allow a homer all season.

With their 16th Round pick...

...The Astros select 6'3" 205lb LHP Scott Zuloaga, a 21-year old out of Scottsdale Community College.

In 28GP, Zuloaga threw 39.2IP, allowing 30H/8ER, 43K:10BB with a 1.82 ERA and six saves.

With their 15th Round pick...

...The Astros select Zach Johnson, a 5'11" 200lb junior 1B out of Oklahoma State.

In May, Johnson was named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, hitting safely in 46 of his 54 games, and starting the season with a 16-game hitting streak.

Johnson hit .358 with a .642 SLG in 2011, with 13HR/62RBI and five games where he had 4RBI. Oklahoma State coach Frank Anderson:
“He doesn’t have many highs or lows. He goes about practice like a professional player. He’s a pretty quiet kid and comes to play everyday.”

Incredibly, Johnson's favorite athlete is Jay Buhner, and he's a huge Phillies fan (stick with the Astros, kid, and you just may achieve your wish).

Here's an interview from May 2010, with Ohlone College.

With their 14th Round pick...

...The Astros select 6'5" 190lb RHP Gandy Stubblefield, out of Lufkin (TX) HS.

Stubblefield HAS to be part of the Horace Stubblefield clan, who have the Horace Stubblefield Learning Center in Lufkin. That's too crazy of a coincidence not to be.

With their 13th Round pick...

...The Astros select 6'1" 180lb junior 2B out of Clemson, 22-year old John Hinson.

Hinson, out of Asheville, NC, was Clemson's team co-captain in 2011 and went into 2011 as the team's starting 3B. He was drafted in the 13th Round in 2010 by the Phillies, but clearly chose to go back to Clemson, and got drafted in the exact same round by the Astros.

In 2011, Hinson started 60 games for the Tigers, hitting .331/.338/.514, with 24 XBH/41RBI, and 34K:24BB, to go along with 21 errors.

CollegeBaseball360 listed Hinson as a College 3B to Watch in 2011, saying:
Hinson is a guy who had question marks coming into the 2010 season. He played a little as a freshman in 2008, batting .264 with one home run and 11 RBIs. He missed all of 2009 with a back injury, so just what he would bring to the table in ’10 was a great unknown. Hinson played in all but two of Clemson’s 69 games last year though, batting .351 with 17 HR and 75 RBIs. All of those numbers were the second-best on his team for the College World Series participants. He also led Clemson with 25 stolen bases, while sporting a 1.008 OPS.

According to Hinson's dad, 20 teams showed interest in his son. Hinson, Sr.:
“I think the bargaining power has a big thing to do with getting drafted in professional baseball. If you're a senior, they can say, ‘Well, we'll give you $1,000. You can play or go home.' You know, the bargaining power does have a big part in this.”

In 2010, he was a first-team All-ACC player by, and hit .351 with 17HR, 75RBI, and a team-leading 25 steals in 56 games.

With their 12th Round pick...

...The Astros select 6'3" 205lb catcher Miles Hamblin, a 22-year old senior out of Ole Miss.

Hamblin, originally from Rowlett, TX, hit .259/.381/.430 for Ole Miss in 2011, with 33K:25BB and 14XBHs, stealing seven bases in eight attempts, and a .992 Fld%.

At Howard College in Big Spring, Hamblin played C/1B and was a National JuCo All-American, and a Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner, hitting .429 with 17HR, helping Howard to a 63-1 record and a JuCo National Championship.

In February '09, the Baseball Draft Report said that Hamblin "is a promising bat who should be able to stick behind the plate long-term," and later said:

Hamblin has above-average power potential and a live bat, plus he has the added advantage of being close to a sure bet of sticking behind the plate as a professional. His outstanding performance this season for a dominant junior college team has scouts buzzing. Lefty power, a great catcher’s frame, strong throwing arm (mid-80s fastball in high school), and a mature approach at the plate.

With their 11th Round pick...

...The Astros select 6'4" 185lb junior out of the University of Minnesota, 21-year old Justin Gominsky.

Gominsky hit .307/.367/.381 in 49 games (189 ABs) for the Golden Gophers, with 58 hits (11XBHs) and 18RBIs, with 35K:17BB. says:
Gifted athlete out of Mahtomedi High School who was named All-State in baseball and football • talented outfielder who has good speed and can swing the bat well • has three-plus tools in his arm, bat and speed • has a great deal of athleticism and toughness, and will compete for a spot in the outfield after missing most of the 2010 season with a knee injury.

Gominsky was apparently The Man as a football player, with the Minneapolis Star-Tribune saying Gominsky was:
a sure-handed game-breaker who can bring a crowd to its feet and opposing coaches to their knees.

That's some Roy Hobbs stuff right there.

He was an all-state baseball player in his junior and senior year at Mahtomedi High School in Minnesota, playing alongside teammate Mike Kvasnicka (yeah, the guy playing for Lexington).

In February, the Daily Gopher had a baseball team preview, naming Gominsky as the Best Outfielder, saying:
Gominsky might be the single most important player on the roster this year. He missed most of 2010 due to a knee injury but the former freshman All-American will be counted upon heavily to be healthy and productive at the top of the lineup. As a freshman he hit .338 and had 11 steals. Count on Gominsky to start at CF and hit lead-off.

With their 10th Round pick...

...The Astros select 6'2" 185lb LHP Kyle Hallock, a 22-year old senior out of Kent State.

Hallock was 10-4, with a 1.95 ERA/1.19 WHIP, with 101H/23ER, 88K:23BB in 106.1IP for KSU in 2011, earning a spot on the 3rd Team All-America list.

Last year, Hallock was drafted in the 49th Round by the Phillies, but obviously came back for his senior year.

With their 9th Round pick...

...The Astros select 6'5" 215lb senior RHP, 22-year old Jonas Dufek, out of Creighton.

Dufek is from Omaha, and was a 2010 Second Team, All-MVC pitcher, and was Creighton's number one starter.

In 2011, Dufek led the Missouri Valley Conference in wins (12), ERA (2.08), and strikeouts (128), in 112.2IP (walking just 29) with a .198 BAA, and was a 3rd Team All-American.

Just last Friday, Dufek threw a complete game, 5H/1ER, 10K:1BB outing against Georgia in the NCAA Corvallis Regional.

“That game was exactly how a Creighton baseball game should be played -– fast-paced … and then finding a way to win. Early on, I was leaving quite a few of my pitches up and they put some balls in play, but my defense was behind me early.

“And then later on, I was able to settle down and strike a few more guys out. But the whole game, my defense made plays behind me that really worked for me.”

With their 8th Round pick...

...the Astros select 6'4" 200lb RHP Brandon Culbreth, an 18-year old RHP out of Forsyth County Day School in North Carolina.

In 2009, Perfect Game said:
Big tall body, projectable build. Pitches with a 3/4 arm slot, long arm action, arm speed, gets closed at balance point, across body delivery, opens early, some deception, 10/4 SL, sweeps some, gets around FB, FB cuts. Also hit, rotational swing, inside out swing, centers ball, developing defensive actions.

Here's a video of Culbreth, Winston-Salem Online's Player of the Week.

Culbreth has committed to play for NC State.

With their 7th Round pick...

...The Astros select 6'1" 190lb 18-year old LHB CF Javaris Reynolds out of King HS in Florida.

Reynolds skipped his HS graduation to workout at Minute Maid Park, after he hit .403 with 27SBs for King HS.

In 2010, he hit .304 with 4HR, and was a perfect 17x17 in SBs.

Reynolds was named to the St. Petersburg Times All-Hillsborough County first team All-Star team.

He has committed to State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota.

Want to see a video?

With their 6th Round pick...

...The Astros select 6'2" 225lb, 21-year old Junior Left-Fielder from San Diego State, Brandon Meredith.

Meredith was a 2011 preseason 2nd-team All-American by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association of America, and switched to LF after his freshman year, where he played 1B. Interestingly enough, Meredith was the first high school player to ever hit a home run at Petco Park.

Meredith, who played under head coach Tony Gwynn (which means that I trust him), hit .272 with 24 XBH/38RBI, with 46K:40BB in 191ABs, and led SDSU with 10HBPs in 2011.

In 2007, Perfect Game had this to say:

Meredith has present strength throughout his body with a barrel chest. Defensively he showed raw arm strength from outfield with good carry on his throws. Meredith also showed the ability to play third base in game action giving him position flexibility. At the plate he is a right handed hitter with plus bat speed. He takes an aggressive swing and the ball jumps off his bat. There is strength in his swing giving him raw power and the ability to drive the ball to all fields with authority. He is quick through the zone, and remains balanced through his swing. Meredith is a middle of the order hitter who should produce runs at the next level. He also runs well for size. Meredith is an excellent student as well.

College Baseball 360 named him a Collegiate Outfielder To Watch.

With their 5th Round pick

...The Astros select 6'4" 205lb RHP Nick Tropeano, a 20-year old Junior out of Stony Brook.

He was the 2010 America East's Co-Pitcher of the Year, and a 3rd Team All-American (so named by College Baseball Lineup).

In 2011, he went 12-1 for Stony Brook, with a 1.84 ERA/0.94 WHIP, allowing 63H/19ER, 119K:24BB in 93IP, and a .191 BAA.

This comes after a 2010, where he went 8-4 with a 2.44 ERA, striking out 106 in 99.2IP. His 6.86 hits/9inn were 17th in the nation.

So if you're keeping score at home, in his last 192.2IP, Tropeano has struck out 225 batters. That doesn't include leading the Cape Cod League with 55 strikeouts in 2010 (in 55IP).

“My coaches have said that my demeanor on the mound is much different. I have much more confidence and that’s very key to have as a pitcher.”

With their 4th Round pick...

...The Astros select 6'3" 175lb LHP Christopher Lee out of Santa Fe Comm. College in Florida.

He was the 43rd ranked JuCo prospect, by Perfect Game.

Lee was 3-3 with a 2.85 ERA in 12 games (6 starts) in 2011), throwing 41IP, allowing 41H/13ER, 42K:21BB and a .263 BAA.

With their 3rd Round pick

...The Astros select 6'7" 230lb junior RHP Jack Armstrong out of Vanderbilt.

His father, Jack Armstrong, Sr., pitched in the majors for seven seasons.

Head coach Tim Corbin on Armstrong:
Jack bolstered our pitching staff last year as a weekend starter and I expect that he will be in that role again this year. There are not many kids out there that possess the athleticism and pitching tools that Jack does. He continues to make strides every time we give him the baseball. He was the winner of our Omaha Challenge for the pitchers as well.

ProDraft Central:

For all of his success, or lack thereof, he still offers huge upside. He’s a big guy, which means he throws hard, in the mid 90s. He’s even been known to crank it up to 99-mph on occasion. He also features a pretty good curveball and he’s working on a changeup.

Aside from his high-heat, the best thing Armstrong has going for him is the fact that he is an amazing athlete. He was the star of his high-school basketball team, and warranted several scholarships before deciding on Vandy and baseball.

His control isn’t the best, but he projects to have at least average big-league control. If he doesn’t cut it as a starter, many experts believe that he would be well suited for a relieving role, possibly even as a closer, where his high-heat and bulldog mentality would be a perfect fit."

Baseball Beginnings has an interview with Armstrong.

PineTar Press (from 2010):
Jack Jr. throws very hard and sits in the mid 90′s with a solid change up and curve. He throws a fastball with a nice sink. His father (I don’t know if this is because his career ended prematurely) has not let his son throw a slider for fear of an injury.

He was a prized prospect coming out of high school and the Rangers took him in the draft and offered him a million to sign but he chose to go to Nashville. His first year he was buried behind a veteran staff and only pitched in 6 games (all relief) going 0-0 with a 12.91 e.r.a But in the summer he shined for his dad’s old Cape Cod team Wareham as he was league all star going 4-1 with a 2.57 e.r.a and 31 k’s in 35 IP. His dad was a tall pitcher but Jack jr. reminds me of Chris Young of the Padres.

Here's MLB's scouting video.

With their 2nd Round pick...

...The Astros select 6'4" 205lb RHP Adrian Houser out of Locust Grove HS in Oklahoma.

Perfect Game says:
Houser has a long lean frame, pitches from a standard arm slot, clean mechanics, cutting action on fastball, throws downhill, good follow through, solid 11-5 curveball with good arm speed, very quick arm, good feel for off speed, three pitches in zone, very interesting arm to follow, hits from a square stance, good bat speed, occasional solid contact. He is also a excellent student.

MLB Bonus Baby says:
He was very impressive here in the Atlanta area for the 17u WWBA championships pitching for the Dallas Yankees, and I think that’s the main reason why he was named to the Under Armour game. His fastball is already in the 88-92 range, and it touched 94 here. He has some projection, but he looks more like a potential #3 starter than a TORP. His curve is solid-average and it could get better, and he definitely puts some zip on it compared to a lot of prep curveballs. I have one report of there being some potential mechanical issues, but I’d like to see more video to make my own opinions.

MaxPreps had him ranked 894th in the nation, 22nd in Oklahoma.

He has committed to play baseball for OU. We'll see if the Astros can throw him enough green to change that.

Here's some video.

Wallace, Mier, Bailey named as all-stars

The South Atlantic League has named Chris Wallace, Jiovanni Mier, and Adam Bailey to the All-Star Team. Congratulations are in order...

Law, on Springer

Here's Keith Law's (Insider-only) Scouting Report on George Springer, but you can get the full text from Lance Zierlein.

Your money quote:
If a hitting coach can clean him up, he has the potential to hit in the middle of a major-league lineup with plus defense in right field, but that’s a substantial and very open question.

Here's a crazy story

...about Astros scout Ed Fastaia, who was a first responder on 9/11.

Brian Pellegrini Bobblehead Night

Friday, June 10 is Brian Pellegrini Bobblehead Night, as Lexington celebrates their all-time Home Run King.

Yeah, last night was a bad night to be a RedHawk

Ryan Aber has some notes on last night's shellacking by Memphis, including some reaction by Esposito, the only reliever to emerge unscathed, on his strikeout:

The strikeout came on a cutter Esposito picked up from rehabbing Astros reliever Brandon Lyon in the dugout during the game.

“I got ahead on him 0-2 and figured I'd take a shot at striking him out, then go back to pitching to contact,” Esposito said. “I'll have to give Brandon a call and thank him for that one.

Leave Lyon in OKC and make him Burt Hooton's personal assistant!

Eddie's Farm: June 6

Oklahoma City (24-34)

Good Lord. The reaction to this game is worth a separate post (which will happen), but OKC got railroaded by Memphis 14-2. Ryan Rowland-Smith allowed 6H/6ER, 5K:2BB in 5IP to get the loss. Francis Beltran gets the Ugly, by allowing 4H/7ER, 0K:3BB in 0.2IP. Wesley Wright allowed 4H/1ER, 2K:0BB in 2.1IP, and the only reliever to not allow a run: catcher Brian Esposito, who threw a perfect 9th inning.

The RedHawks got seven hits: two from Tommy Manzella (who also had two errors), and two from Brandon Barnes. Jose Vallejo was 0x1 with 2BBs. Brian Bogusevic hit his 3rd homer of the year, and Brian Dopirak added the other RBI. Anderson Hernandez and Max Ramirez had doubles.

Man of the Match: Brian Esposito!

Corpus (20-36)

Arkansas scored in the top of the 1st, and the top of the 10th, and that was it. Arkansas wins in extras, 3-2. Xavier Cedeno continues a streak of dominance, allowing 5H/2ER, 10K:3BB, while Kyle Greenwalt gets the L with 3H/1ER allowed in 1.1IP.

Jimmy Paredes was 2x4 with a solo homer; Jose Altuve was 2x5 with a double (and is hitting .417 since his call-up) - and both stole a base. T.J. Steele got himself a triple, while Brandon Wikoff and Jimmy Van Ostrand provided your other hits.

Man of the Match: Xavier Cedeno

Lancaster (24-33)

Austin Wates' walk-off sac fly capped a comeback in which the JetHawks saw themselves down 7-1 in the 6th, and winning in the bottom of the 10th 8-7. Zach Grimmett got the start, allowing 5H/5ER, 1K:5BB in 4.1IP. Colton Pitkin gave up 3H/2ER, 1K:0BB, 2HR in 1.2IP; David Berner walked one and gave up a hit in 1.1IP, while Wander Alvino threw the final 2.2IP, getting the win on 1H/0ER, 2K:0BB.

Miguel Arrendell was 3x5 with a walk, Kody Hinze was 1x3 with an RBI and two walks. Every JetHawk got a hit except for 2B Hector Rodriguez. Austin Wates, in addition to the sac fly, was 1x4 with a walk.

Man of the Match: Austin Wates

Lexington (28-30)

Greenville scored five in the bottom of the 6th, and that was enough for a 6-5 win over Lexington. Carlos Quevedo allowed 7H/3R (2ER), 7K:0BB in 5.1IP; Gabe Garcia got the loss with 2H/3ER (and allowing one run charged to Quevedo), 0K:2BB in 0.1IP; Jason Chowning gave up a hit in 0.1IP, and Luis Cruz allowed 3H/0ER, 3K:0BB in 2IP.

Adam Bailey was 2x4 with a solo homer - his 13th of the season - and Tyler Burnett was 2x4. Emilio King was 1x4 with a double, walk, and 2RBI. Jordan Scott was 1x3 with an RBI.

Man of the Match: Adam Bailey

DSL Astros (2-3)

Have had four straight games suspended because of rain.

More on George Springer

From the Danbury (we think) News-Times:

Springer, drafted in the 48th-round by Minnesota out of Avon Old Farms in 2008, drew chatter in the offseason as a candidate to be the first overall pick. Scouts later backed off a bit with concerns over whether his big swing can make consistent contact against major league pitching.

Bobby Heck, via Stephen Goff:

"He wasn't No. 1 on our board, but when it was our turn to pick, he was our top guy. Being a college player in one of the better conferences, he has a chance to advance at an accelerated rate.

Springer, via Fox26's Mark Berman:

"I'm ready to go out and compete and ready to go out and advance my career as fast as I can. I'm ready to go."

Bullpen Banter's Al Skorupa:

I've seen a LOT of Springer. What a special athlete. You just don't see college players with these kind of tools.

A Note of Thanks

Big thanks to Street for filling in yesterday. He absolutely killed it, and even had some nice things to say about us - which is rare. Today we'll be updating sporadically, but I will tell you this. By the time we go to bed tonight, there will be a full list of Astros selections along with some background information - similar to the last two years' draft coverage, just not necessarily in real time.

The best of the rest

Day 1 of the 2011 Rule 4 draft has been completed. The Astros chose an athletic center fielder with power potential in UConn junior George Springer with the 11th overall pick. The Astros did not have a 1st round supplemental pick, and do not pick again until tomorrow in the 2nd round at 69th overall.

Now that the first 60 picks are 'in the books' and Day 1 is complete, there still remain a number of top prospect available on Day 2. Top 100 players from Baseball America's Top 200 list who have not yet been drafted are listed below.


16 Daniel Norris, lhp, Science Hill HS, Johnson City, Tenn.
23 John Stilson, rhp, Texas A&M (fell due to injury concerns)
31 Dillon Howard, rhp, Searcy (Ark.) HS
32 Matt Purke, lhp, Texas Christian (sophomore eligible draftee and injury concerns)
39 Jorge Lopez, rhp, Academia de Milagrosa, Cayey, P.R.
41 Josh Osich, lhp, Oregon State
43 Kyle Winkler, rhp, Texas Christian
46 Dillon Maples, rhp, Pinecrest HS, Southern Pines, N.C.
50 Tony Zych, rhp, Louisville
55 Anthony Meo, rhp, Coastal Carolina
62 Charlie Lowell, lhp, Wichita State
69 Adam Conley, lhp, Washington State
70 Andrew Gagnon, rhp, Long Beach State
74 Bryan Brickhouse, rhp, The Woodlands (Texas) HS
81 Lenny Linsky, rhp, Hawaii
91 Burch Smith, rhp, Oklahoma
93 Noe Ramirez, rhp, Cal State Fullerton
94 Kyle McMillen, rhp, Kent State
96 Matt Andriese, rhp, UC Riverside
97 Erik Johnson, rhp, California
98 Evan Marshall, rhp, Kansas State
99 Chris Marlowe, rhp, Oklahoma State
100 Logan Verrett, rhp, Baylor

Position Players:

15 Josh Bell, of, Dallas Jesuit HS
28 Austin Hedges, c, JSerra HS, San Juan Capistrano, Calif.
30 Andrew Susac, c, Oregon State
42 Alex Dickerson, of, Indiana
52 Granden Goetzman, of, Palmetto (Fla.) HS
53 Williams Jerez, of, Grand Street HS, Brooklyn
54 Matt Dean, 3b, The Colony (Texas) HS
57 Ricky Oropesa, 1b/3b, Southern California
59 Aaron Westlake, 1b, Vanderbilt
63 B.A. Vollmuth, 3b/ss, Southern Miss
64 Cam Gallagher, c, Manheim Township HS, Lancaster, Pa.
66 Derek Fisher, of, Cedar Crest HS, Lebanon, Pa.
68 Brad Miller, ss, Clemson
71 Jace Peterson, ss, McNeese State
72 Tyler Marlette, c, Hagerty HS, Oviedo, Fla.
73 Roman Quinn, of, Port St. Joe (Fla.) HS
77 Jason Esposito, 3b, Vanderbilt
79 Nick Ahmed, ss, UConn
80 Charlie Tilson, of, New Trier HS, Winnetka, Ill.
82 Connor Barron, ss, Sumrall (Miss.) HS
83 Tyler Greene, ss, West Boca Raton (Fla.) HS
84 Johnny Eierman, of, Warsaw (Mo.) HS
85 Tyler Gibson, of, Stratford Academy, Macon, Ga.
87 Kyle Gaedele, of, Valparaiso
88 Nicky Delmonico, c/1b/3b, Farragut HS, Knoxville
95 Brandon Loy, ss, Texas

Monday, June 6, 2011

And with the 11th pick in the draft...

The Houston Astros choose George Springer, OF from the University of Connecticut.

Admittedly I'm playing it a bit lazy here (the Constable and crew will be ashamed of me), but The Crawfish Boxes has put together a nice compilation of scouting reports on Springer, and is a good place to start your research on him.

As for Springer's thoughts on being picked by the Astros, we won't know immediately as UConn is currently up 3-1 in its NCAA regional game against Clemson. -StreetJL

"Inside the Draft roof with... Bobby Heck"

Another excellent draft piece from's Stephen Goff. Though I've included a random 'Bobby Heck quote' below, the article is definitely worth the click, and worthy of a read in its entirety.

"We talk a lot about risk management. People think college players can get there or the college pitcher is a safer pick. Not necessarily. It's about taking the right player and at the end of the day, when you look at your top 10, you have a mix of high school, college and junior college players..".

Can't get enough draft info?

As always, Astros County should be your first destination for Astros draft information (after all, it was the Constable's great work on 2009 draftees that clued me in on the site in the first place). That said, there are a number of other places that you might choose to glean additional information from as well.

Currently, there are a number of good 'live chats' / draft blogs going on (or recently completed) in advance of the draft (in no particular order):

Perfect Game USA live chat; live chat [A note regarding my related comments: for the last 2 years I have been one of two contributors to the Astros prospect section of the FOX Sports Fantasy Baseball / top prospects annual. Though I've endeavored to remove any potential bias from my related comments, the potential for bias should nevertheless be noted];
Baseball America draft blog.

For Astros' specific draft chat and information check out:

The 2011 Draft thread at the Bus Ride Discussion Forum (SpikesNStars) [Again, in the spirit of full disclosure, I am a moderator at the Bus Ride].

And finally (for the moment anyway), a site that I highly recommend: 'Cats Corner.

For those of you who are not familiar with 'Cats Corner, it is the official blog site of the Tri-City ValleyCats, and (in my opinion) provides the most in-depth Astros prospect information of any of the Astros affiliates. Kevin Whitaker is working with the club again this season, and will be part of the ValleyCat team hosting a live blog of days one and two of the draft. Be sure and drop in and give them a read.

Edited to add: somehow in the midst of all the information above, I inexplicably failed to mention that you can follow along with the draft through's Draft Central.

Some more 'Final Mocks'

I should have been clear on my previous post: those were the final mock drafts (as I understand it anyway) from the selected writers, not the final mock drafts that Astros County will be posting. With that said, a couple more 'final mocks' for your perusal:

Kevin Goldstein (06/06) of Baseball Prospectus has the Astros taking RHP Taylor Jungmann of the University of Texas at #11. David Rawnsley (06/04) of Perfect Game USA has the Astros taking RHP Archie Bradley of Broken Arrow HS (Oklahoma) at this spot. Frankie Piliere of (06/05) has LHP Jed Bradley of Georgia Tech projected at #11 (though he previously had Tweeted that the Astros were working on a pre-draft deal for Stanford LHP Chris Reed here - a rumor which has been generally shown to be incorrect). -StreetJL