Saturday, August 6, 2011

Springer visits Houston

It wasn't a sales pitch. It just happened to be a physical, followed by a tour of the ballpark and a meeting with the manager. What, that's never happened to you?

The Astros brought George Springer to get his physical out of the way, so that, according to Ed Wade:
"If this thing drifts to the Aug. 15 deadline, we don't have to set our hair on fire at that point to try to get an agreement in place. He passed it with flying colors. It was an in-and-out deal. Dr. Lintner and the people at Methodist Hospital paved the way for him. The hard part is done. Now the easy part comes, getting him signed."

The Astros are also working to sign Jack Armstrong and Gandy Stubblefield, out of Lufkin.

God did not want Shuck's dad at last night's game

Take a gander at the crap Shuck's dad had to go through in order to not make it to Houston in time for the game last night:

Shuck's father, Jack, got the call from his son at 2:30 Friday morning and spent the next 16 hours trying - unsuccessfully - to get to Houston in time for the first game of a three-game series against the National League Central-leading Brewers. Jack had a flat tire on his way to the airport in Columbus, then had his flight to Houston canceled because of severe weather.

"This hasn't worked out the way I had hoped," an exasperated Jack Shuck said late Friday afternoon from an airport in North Carolina, where he was hoping to fly standby to Houston. "There's not even a sports bar nearby where I can go watch the game...

"...This is what we've been dreaming of for 20 years and I'm not going to make it there. It's unbelievable," Jack Shuck said. "Maybe I'll be able to look back and laugh about this some day, but I'm not laughing now."

Holy Jeebus. That's just not fair.

Will Happ pitch on Wednesday?

After falling to 4-14 on the season, J.A. Happ didn't have any answers:

“Just once again, kind of the story of it. They hit it where we weren’t, and I fell behind a bit too much. I have to find a way to get them to put it in play on the ground somewhere, hopefully, and that will be the goal for the next start.”

Mills wasn't real clear on that next start:
“We’re going to talk about some things and see if we think we can get him back to being what it needs to be and throwing the way he’s capable of throwing."

That's a pretty startling statement, when you look at it closely, and probably too closely, at that. "If we think we can get him back..." Not exactly a vote of confidence. Because if Brocail (wouldn't Arnsberg come in handy here?) can't do it, where does he go? He might be going to see Dr. Hooton in OKC to get things straightened out.

A good note from Levine that the County Clerk missed:
Happ set an Astros record, becoming the first pitcher in team history — and the first on any team since Seattle’s Paul Spoljaric in 1998 and 1999 — to go eight consecutive starts allowing five or more runs.


Here's some Tranzactionz for you:

Aug 6:
Jamaine Cotton called up to Tri-City.

Aug 5:
Corpus pitcher Henry Sosa called up to OKC
SS Jose Vallejo sent to Lancaster from Corpus
Miguel Arrendell sent to Tri-City from Lancaster

Aug 4:
David Flores called up to Corpus from Lancaster
Jio Mier activated from Lancaster's 7-Day DL
Chris Epps called up to Tri-City from GCL Astros

From the Office of the County Clerk - G112: Brewers @ Astros

Well, what do you know? Happ gets another Disaster Start and the Astros lose 8-1 to Milwaukee.

*That's four straight losses against Milwaukee, and drops them to 3-7 on the season vs. the Brewers.

*The loss is the 13th time in the last 14 series that the Astros have dropped the series opener.

*Happ threw yet another Disaster Start (Equal to or More ER than IP) with 4IP, 7H/6ER, 2K:3BB. It's his sixth Disaster Start in 22 outings, and the fifth time he hasn't made it to the 5th inning. It's the seventh time in his last eight starts that he has allowed 5+ ER.

*Happ allowed 3ER in the 1st inning. So in 22 1st inning IPs, Happ has allowed 19ER.

*Happ has allowed 10+ baserunners in seven starts, and was spared from a 9-game streak by a 2.2IP outing where he allowed nine baserunners at Texas on June 20.

*In his last 72 batters faced (315 pitches), Happ has recorded 17 swinging strikes.

*Aneury Rodriguez allowed 2H/1ER in 2IP, David Carpenter threw a perfect 7th, Wilton Lopez walked a batter, and Enerio Del Rosario allowed 2H/1ER, 0K:2BB in the 9th.

*Wilton Lopez' walk struggles are well-documented. After walking five batters in 67IP in 2010, Lopez has walked 15 batters in 50.1IP in 2011. But that's showing signs of evening out. Lopez walked 12 batters in his first 22IP of the season (through May 31), and three batters in 28.1IP since.

*The Astros managed no extra-base hits on the game, and only walked once - the 36th time this season that has happened.

*They got five hits, or, two fewer than Ryan Braun. It's the 17th time this season the Astros have recorded five or fewer hits (1-16).

*Big congratulations to J.B. Shuck, who got a single in his first AB, and also his first stolen base. The stolen base ties him for 3rd on the team in SBs.

*Which brings up a good point. With the removal of Bourn and Pence, Jason Bourgeois has 22 steals, and the next highest SB total is Carlos Lee and Angel Sanchez, with 3SBs.

*Carlos Lee got a hit in his first PA, snapping a 25PA hitless streak.

*Man of the Match: Guh. J.B. Shuck

*Goat of the Game: J.A. Happ

Friday, August 5, 2011

Springer update

Richard Justice says:

Astros 1st round pick George Springer is touring Minute Maid Park this afternoon. He's in town to take a physical. An agreement is not close.

An agreement might not be close, but the deadline is: Ten days (August 15) and counting...

Was Brown available, or was he not?

Steve Campbell pointed this out, but here's Stark's latest Rumblings and Grumblings column, in which there is a note about Dom Brown's availability:

After the Phillies traded for Hunter Pence without including Domonic Brown in the package, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. told the Philadelphia media, unequivocally: "I got 400,000 calls asking me about Domonic Brown and he was not available. Other people can think whatever they want, but he was not available."

But Rumblings was told by officials of three different clubs that the Phillies WERE willing to talk about Brown in the "right" deal -- namely, in the words of one of those officials, "for the right guy, for a certain length of time, [as in] not just for this year." An executive of another one of those clubs said, flatly: "They would have been open to trading him. In fact, I still think they would rather have traded Brown than the kid they traded [Jonathan Singleton]."

Then there's this:
And an executive of yet another team went out of his way to say: "I feel for Ed. I really do. He was caught between two owners (Drayton McLane and the soon-to-be-approved new boss, Jim Crane). Now he's got to sit there and take the brunt of this. And nobody above him has stood up and said, 'We mandated this. He was just following orders.' But that's all he was doing -- following orders. And he made two pretty good deals under the circumstances."

We also find that one scout who has been through the organization says that Jonathan Villar might be the best position player in Eddie's Farm. Run and tell that, indpendent scout!

J.D. Martinez: Prophet

Missed this from yesterday, but here's a good piece on the Prophet, J.D. Martinez speaking of a conversation between he and Lyles:

"He was like, 'Man, I need to get a win. I need to get a win.'" I'm like, 'You're going to get your win, and I'm going to hit my first home run that day. Watch.'"

On the clubhouse mentality:
"It's hard coming into an organization where they're making the youth movement, and everyone's kind of just looking at you almost like, 'Oh, they're not supposed to win.' That's how we all felt. They really can't be expecting a lot from us, now let's show them."

Pence's interview with WIP in Philadelphia

The ever-helpful Sports Radio Interviews transcribed this interview with Hunter Pence from WIP in Philadelphia.

On how he dealt with the trade rumors:
“It was weird. It was just like mixed emotions. I was just kind of uneasy. I didn’t know what was going to happen. I didn’t...when you’re in a city playing for a team you don’t want to think about where else you want to go. You want to try to do the best you can where you are at. Ultimately I think it ended up being great for everyone. Houston got some prospects. They were in transition. I think I fit in well with Philly. I don’t think there could have been a better fit looking back on it now. I think everything worked out great and I couldn’t be happier.”

Ed Wade understands why you hate Carlos Lee

Here's a remarkably open piece by Steve Campbell about Carlos Lee and his public perception.

“A lot of the stuff right now is a little bit of the same-old, same-old stuff about Carlos with the defense and the size and that nature. Some of that is probably magnified by the two trades we made of players who were very popular and known for their athleticism. People want to turn around and somehow shine a negative light on Carlos. I don’t think it’s justified or warranted, but it’s the nature of the public game that we play.”

Campbell points out a lot of statistics in Lee's favor, but it's basically a reminder that, if you boo Carlos Lee, you're really booing Tim Purpura.

Shuck moving on up

Perhaps you're like me, and thought it was strange that J.B. Shuck wasn't in the lineup last night for OKC at Las Vegas. That's because he'll fill Durango's spot on the 25-Man roster in time for today's game.

In July, Shuck hit .368/.477/.517, with five doubles and four triples, striking out just four times in 87ABs; In his last ten games, he's hitting .421/.522/.605 with 4K:7BB.

Eddie's Farm: August 4

Oklahoma City (49-64)

Oof. Welcome to Triple-A, Dallas Keuchel. Las Vegas got nine runs in the first two innings - including five in the bottom of the 1st, erasing the five runs the JetHawks got in the top of the 1st. Las Vegas won, 17-10. Keuchel allowed 12H/11ER, 0K:2BB in 3.1IP; Xavier Cedeno gave up 2H/4ER, 1K:2BB; Ross Wolf allowed 2H/2ER - and three of Cedeno's ERs - and Fernando Abad had the only scoreless outing.

Lots of homers in this one - one by Collin DeLome, Chris Johnson (2B, BB, 2RBI), Koby Clemens (2RBI), and Jake Goebbert (2B, BB, 3RBI).

Man of the Match: Jake Goebbert!

Corpus (42-68)

A tight one went to the bottom of the 8th, with Corpus and San Antonio trading runs in the 1st, and carrying a 1-1 tie into the bottom of the 8th, when San Antonio got five runs in a 6-1 win. Paul Clemens made his organizational debut, and allowed 2H/1R (0ER), 7K:5BB in 6IP; Arcenio Leon allowed 2H/3R (2ER), 1K:0BB in 1IP, and Josh Zeid allowed two unearned runs.

The Hooks only got five hits (and four errors). Johnathan Villar was 2x4 with a double, Jimmy Van Ostrand was 1x1 with the lone RBI, but left with an injury. Recently-called up injury replacement David Flores was 1x3, and Jon Gaston was 1x4 with a double. Brandon Barnes drew the only walk.

Man of the Match: Paul Clemens.

Lancaster (42-68)

Inland Empire flat-out handled Lancaster with a 9-1 win. Jake Buchanan allowed 10H/8R (6ER), 1K:0BB; Wander Alvino gave up a series of 1s in 2IP; Colton Pitkin (1.2IP) and Kirk Clark (1IP) threw hitless/scoreless outings.

Miguel Arrendell had the only extra-base hit - a double (and committed an error) - and Austin Wates (RBI), Jonathan Singleton (3K), Adam Bailey, and Jonathan Meyer had your only hits.

Man of the Match: Austin Wates

Lexington (50-60)

Hm. Kannapolis jumped out to a 4-0 lead after two innings and went on to an 8-2 win over Lexington. Tanner Bushue threw 6IP, 6H/4ER, 4K:1BB. Juan Minaya allowed 4H/3R (2ER), 1K:1BB, in 1.2IP, and Alex Sogard allowed 2H/1ER in 1.1IP.

Telvin Nash was 2x4 with a homer; Delino DeShields and Ben Orloff each had a hit and a walk. The Legends committed four errors (two from DeShields, one from Orloff and Adamson).

Man of the Match: Telvin Nash

Tri-City (18-28)

Tri-City doubled up Jamestown in both hits (14-7) and runs (8-4). Adam Champion threw 5IP, 5H/2ER, 3K:2BB; Travis Blankenship allowed two unearned runs in 2IP, and Ebert Rosario got his first save of the season, striking out three in 2IP.

Drew Muren was 3x4 with a walk and 2RBIs; Miles Hamblin (2B), Rafael Valenzuela, and Kellen Kiilsgaard had two hits each, and every other ValleyCat got a hit. Jacke Healey was 1x3 with two walks, and Neiko Johnson, Justin Gominsky, and Matt Duffy had a hit and a walk.

Man of the Match: Drew Muren

Greeneville (17-26)

Bluefield twice had the lead, Greeneville twice tied it up, and Bluefield ended up with the walk-off win, 3-2. Chris Lee had the best start of his pro career, throwing 5IP, 7H/1ER, 4K:1BB. Matison Smith allowed 2H/1ER in 1.1IP, and Jeremiah Meiners took the loss with 3H/1ER, 3K:0BB in 2.1IP.

The Gastros only got four hits on the night - Josh Magee (RBI), Luis Alvarez (2B), Jose Monzon, and Chan-Jong Moon. Jorge Sosa drew an RBI on an 0x3, BB night.

Man of the Match: Chris Lee

GCL Astros

The Marlins blanked the GCL Astros 4-0. Ryan Rowland-Smith threw a rehab start, going 3.2IP, 4H/1R (0ER), 3K:3BB; Andrew Walter allowed 3H/2ER, 1K:0BB in 2.1IP; Steve Dennison threw two scoreless IPs, and Brad Dydalewicz allowed 3H/1ER, 1K:2BB in 1IP.

Wallace Gonzalez is having a nice start to his career, going 2x3; Javaris Reynolds and Jean Carlos Batista went 1x4.

Man of the Match: Wallace Gonzalez

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Remember Kevin Crabtree?

The guy who ran on the field, evaded a cop, and scaled the wall at Minute Maid? According to The Smoking Gun he got a $500 fine and a year's worth of probation. He also can't come into contact with Minute Maid Park.

The Smoking Gun refers to him as "lucky." Not sure exactly what they're referring to...

Here's some random

Hunter Pence's cousin is not happy with Ed Wade.

Would you be interested in learning why, according to Larry (and the Albert Lea Tribune), Pence got traded?
“I couldn’t figure out why you would want to trade your top baseball player,” Larry said, later acknowledging that the Astros didn’t want to resign Hunter, whose contract expires at the end of the season, to an expensive, long-term deal.

The first reason is a somewhat valid point. The contract details are spotty. Might we suggest Cot's Baseball Contracts.

But wait, there's more:
Larry heard on ESPN’s SportsCenter that Hunter could be traded to the Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, Phillies or Los Angeles Dodgers. Larry said at the time he preferred the Dodgers because Hunter would get more recognition in a large market, but he’s happy he signed with the Phillies, who are a favorite to win the World Series.

“He’s got more of a chance to be an MVP of a World Series and become a better baseball player,” Pence said. “He’ll have better coaching, which he didn’t have in Houston.”

Better coaching? Or just "coaching," in general?

Larry said Hunter was a “god” in Houston, and at every game over half of the Astros jerseys worn by fans said “Pence” on the back. According to Larry, Hunter’s departure from Houston sparked rumors that he left because there he wouldn’t receive the high-paying contract he demanded. While Hunter is due to make $6.9 million this season, Larry attests his cousin doesn’t care about the money.

“The kid would probably play for $10,000 a year,” Larry said. “Money is not important to him. He’s a baseball freak.”

Of course, there were absolutely no rumors that Pence was demanding a high-paying contract, as it's something he can't control until 2014.

One more:
Hunter stayed in Albert Lea in the fall of 2009 to visit family and friends, and sign baseballs for a charity. Larry, Howard and Hunter planned on going to Diamond Jo Casino in Northwood, Iowa, but before leaving, according to Larry, they asked Hunter if he had any cash. He did — two single dollar bills.

This begs for a folk-art rendering of Hunter Pence holding two single dollar bills on their way to a Minnesota casino. I miss that guy...

ESPN: Cosart, Singleton are "magic beans"

Oh, that's not necessarily a good thing, given the context of Howard Bryant's article on the trade deadline:

Pence is gone, traded by general manager Ed Wade to a team already a title favorite for a handful of prospects who might as well be magic beans. He did not acquire a big leaguer in the deal. Maybe Jarred Cosart, Jonathan Singleton and Josh Zeid will be good players; maybe they won't. But the Phillies gained a proven commodity in Pence without having to relinquish one -- or even Domonic Brown, a top young, promising player who already has played 89 games in the majors...

...Selling the future to fans through minor league prospects is perhaps the biggest scam in baseball. It is the easiest way for front offices to shed payroll, avoid accountability and produce the illusion that bigger and better things are just around the corner. Hope is a great commodity, but it should be real if it's going to be peddled. Here, instead, is what happens when top-level, big league players get traded for prospects: The team receiving the better player wins. The team receiving the prospects asks its fans to wait, and that isn't a fair request.

Pardon me, but hasn't every successful major-leaguer been - at one point - a minor-leaguer (Okay, Dave Winfield aside)? I'm a fan of the team who is being asked to wait, and I'll tell you, it's a hell of a lot better than watching a team 30 games under .500 do nothing. The cynical fan - and it's amazing I'm not one of these right now - who is asked to wait might start reading football preview magazines. The true fan looks at being asked to wait as a sign that better things are coming.

There's peddling magic beans, and there's delivering youth, hope, and excitement, and those two ideas are not the same.

I don't know which writer should get credit for criticizing the trade deadline, but it's a preposterous sentiment. When bad, old, expensive teams don't perform, you blow it up. To beat your head against the wall for 162 games is ignorant if you have the option to change course 110 games into the season.

Because do you know what happens when a team doesn't develop its minor-league talent? They become the 2011 First-Half Astros: Old, Uninspired, Boring, and Bad. It's much more fun this way.
In a related note,'s Terence Moore has a similar article - but one that targets the Astros, not just Ed Wade, but for the last 40 years, as being terrible traders.

Oberholtzer, Schafer, Clemens, and Abreu might want to pin Moore's assessment on the Bourn trade up in their lockers:
In return, the Astros got nothing worth mentioning -- you know, just like always. So this is more of the same: The Astros sent Michael Bourn to the Atlanta Braves this week for nothing worth mentioning.

2011 = 1991?

Zach Levine has a good article comparing the 2011 Astros to the 1991 Astros.

Craig Biggio, of whom you may have heard:
“We had 15 rookies that year. We weren’t as bad as our record showed, and we lost a lot of games by one run and two runs.”

Elsewhere in the notebook, we hear the reasoning for why Luis Durango was sent back to OKC, from Wade:
“We had a chance to take a look at him, and talking with (Mills) we thought there was a chance to go another direction."

So what did they expect to learn from those six PAs? And did they not know that he was fast, but didn't have a whole lot of pop in his bat? The Apparatus should read a blog every now and then...

Jack Armstrong was shelved for eight days with elbow tendinitis, but made a start last night in the Cape Cod League, with Bobby Heck expecting him to make one start.

Prediction: Armstrong won't go as high in the 2012 draft if goes back to Vanderbilt, due to injury concerns. The Astros need to get him in the system, so he signs and spends the off-season resting and rehabbing before reporting to Tri-City in June 2012.

Eddie's Farm: August 3

Oklahoma City (49-63)

Back-and-forth game in Las Vegas. OKC was down 4-1 after the 1st inning, crawled back to tie it up, then they traded runs, with Las Vegas leading 6-5 going into the 9th. But OKC got two runs in the top of the 9th for a 7-6 win. Andy Van Hekken had a rare rough start, throwing 5.2IP, 13H/6R (5ER), 2K:2BB; Sam Gervacio (1.1IP), Mickey Storey (0.2IP), and Doug Arguello (0.1IP) threw hitless/scoreless outings; and Jeff Fulchino got the final three outs for his first save.

OKC got 14 hits - but twelve of them were singles. Brett Wallace was 4x4 with two doubles, a walk, and 3RBIs (in an F You game to the Astros); J.R. Towles (SB) was 3x4, and Anderson Hernandez (SB) and Jake Goebbert (RBI) had two hits each.

Man of the Match: Brett Wallace

Corpus (42-67)

Oof. The Hooks get four hits, and are shutout by San Antonio, 7-0. Ross Seaton gave up 6H/4ER, 2K:1BB in 5.2IP; Danny Meszaros allowed 2H/2ER, 2K:2BB in 0.2IP, and Chris Hicks allowed 3H/1ER (and one of Meszaros'), 1K:1BB in 1.2IP.

Jimmy Van Ostrand got a double, and Ross Seaton got his first double of the season to provide your only extra-base hits. Brandon Barnes and Jon Gaston had your other hits.

Man of the Match: Uh...Van Ostrand?

Lancaster (42-67)

Lancaster was all over Inland Empire, winning 11-6. Bobby Doran threw 3.2IP, 6H/3ER, 3K:1BB; Mike Ness followed up with 4.1IP, 6H/3ER, 3K:1BB, and Pat Urckfitz - recently sent back to Lancaster - threw a perfect 9th inning.

Austin Wates went 3x4 with a walk, RBI, stolen base, and an outfield assist (mancrush alert); Miguel Arrendell, Andy Simunic, and Jonathan Meyer (2RBI) each had two hits. Grant Hogue had a hit and a walk, and David Flores was 1x4 with a sac fly and a three-run homer.

Man of the Match: Austin Wates

Lexington (48-58)

Lexington never trailed in this one, getting a 5-1 win over Kannapolis. Carlos Quevedo threw 7IP, 6H/0ER, 7K:0BB, and Gabe Garcia allowed an unearned run over the last 2IP.

Jay Austin (RBI) and Bryce Lane (2B) had two hits each. Ben Orloff, Telvin Nash, and Hector Rodriguez each got a hit and a walk. Mike Kvasnicka was 0x4 with 2RBI.

Man of the Match: Carlos Quevedo

Tri-City (17-28)

Five unanswered runs typically hurts, and Jamestown used it to go on to a 6-3 win over Tri-City. Kyle Hallock threw 4IP, allowing 6H/4R (0ER), 4K:2BB; Travis Smink allowed 2H/2ER, 2K:1BB in 2.2IP, and Joan Belliard allowed 2H/0ER, 2K:1BB in 1.1IP.

Justin Gominsky (SB) and Zach Johnson (2B, RBI) had two hits each; Miles Hamblin and Rafael Valenzuela provided your other RBI, and Neiko Johnson went 1x4 with a walk - over his last ten games, he's hitting .313/.465/.313 with 4K:9BB, and 9SB. So, no pop, but he can get on base and steal some more.

Man of the Match: Neiko Johnson

Greeneville (17-25)

The Gastros never trailed, but they did allow five unanswered Bluefield runs, including two in the 7th and 9th to send it to extras - where a Chase Davidson RBI single provided the winning run. Greeneville wins 8-7. Jamaine Cotton went 5IP, 8H/2ER, 3K:2BB. Danilo Del Rio allowed 6H/3ER in 1.2IP; Scott Zuloaga gave up 2H/1ER in 2IP, and Steve Martin allowed 3H/1ER (and Zuloaga's ER), not recording an out. Paris Shewey gets the win with 2.1IP, 0H/0ER.

Davidson was 4x6 with a triple and 4RBI seriously - send this guy to Tri-City, or Lexington - and Ariel Ovando was 4x5 with a triple and a walk. Josh Magee was 2x4 with a walk and an HBP, and Darwin Rivera hit a two-run homer.

Man of the Match: Chase Davidson

GCL Astros (12-25)

The Astros also scored a run in extra innings for a 3-2 win that puts them in a virtual tie for last place with the team they beat - the GCL Nationals. Michael Feliz allowed 3H/0ER, 2K:2BB in 5IP; Richard Rodriguez allowed an earned run in 1IP; Zach Hardoin and Juan Mojica threw scoreless IPs and Blake Ford gets the Brandon Lyon (BS/W) with 2H/1R (0ER).

Kelvin Vizcaino was 2x3 with 2BB; Justin Shults had your only RBI, going 1x4 with a walk. Luca Martone also got a hit and a walk.

Man of the Match: Michael Feliz

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Got a couple for you:

Luis Durango has been optioned to OKC, and there won't be a corresponding move until Friday.

Nelson Figueroa was placed on the 7-Day DL with back spasms.

From the Office of the County Clerk - G111: Reds @ Astros

So many funs. Astros win 5-4.

*The Astros won a series against the Reds for the first time this season, and since September 17-19, 2010.

*With the win, the Astros move to 19-37 at home, giving them a half-game edge over their own road record (18-37).

*The first of two big stories is that of Jordan Lyles, who got his first Major League win, his first overall win since May 25, when he threw six shutout innings at Fresno, when playing for Oklahoma City.

*Lyles allowed 6H/3ER, 3K:0BB in 7IP - giving up two solo homers (more on that in a minute). In his last four starts (27.1IP), Lyles has allowed 26H/12ER, 17K:2BB. He hasn't walked a batter in 15IP - the last one coming on July 24 at Wrigley Field.

*One notable note is that Dontrelle Willis hit a go-ahead homer in the top of the 7th. It's the fifth homer allowed by the Astros to an opposing pitcher.

*The Astros rapped out 12 hits - seven of them coming in the top third of the lineup. J.D. Martinez is the second big story of the night, going 3x4 with his first ML homer (just missing another off the yellow line of the Crawfish Boxes). The lone out he made was a flyball to the deepest part of the park, where Drew Stubbs had to chase it down at the base of Tal's Hill. Oh yeah, and he also got 4RBIs - the homer in the 1st inning, and the game-winning runs in the bottom of the 7th.

*Jason Bourgeois, Jose Altuve, Jason Michaels, and Jimmy Paredes all had two hits each.

*Humberto Quintero hit his first homer since July 17. His OPS is now .650, the highest it's been since May 5 (.664).

*Here's a good one - with Quintero and Martinez' homers, it's the first time since July 24 that they've had a multi-homer game. It's just the 12th game of the season they've had 2+ homers. Jose Bautista has had four, by himself.

*Carlos Lee hasn't gotten a hit in his last 25PAs (though he has drawn two walks, including the one tonight).

*Man of the Match: Both Lyles and Martinez

*Goat of the Game: Clint Barmes. 0x3 with 2Ks, and was 0x2 w/RISP.

Greg Lucas smells something fishy

In Greg Lucas' new post, he wonders why it's taking so long to approve Jim Crane's ownership - something that could be done by videoconference, or by mail-in vote - but notes that the following is speculation, however intelligent:

Some think the amount of money being borrowed to purchase the Astros is excessive. It is apparently a greater percentage than MLB guidelines have wanted to allow in the past. Others think the owners didn’t want a teleconference vote before the meeting because they wanted Jim Crane at the meetings in person so they could put pressure on him to agree to move the Astros to the American League in 2013 in return for ownership acceptance.

The Astros in Jim Callis' chat wrap

Jim Callis had a live chat today. What matters to Astros County?

On Kody Hinze:
He has some power, but it's his lone distinguishing tool, and he feasts more on mistakes and has trouble making contact against quality pitching. He's also a righthanded-hitting first baseman, and those are fairly easy to find.

On the Bourn trade:
I thought the Astros should have held out for more. Bourn was such a nice fit for the Braves, and while they weren't going to give up Teheran or Vizcaino, they wouldn't have given up Minor if pressed?

On the prospects in both Bourn and Pence deals:
Singleton and Cosart are nice gets. Oberholtzer and Clemens are more complementary pieces.

Who the Astros should be looking at with the #1 pick in 2012:
Stanford RHP Mark Appel, Arizona State SS Deven Marrero, Florida HS RHP Lance McCullers Jr. Assuming he's back to full health, throw Texas Christian LHP Matt Purke in there too.

Heyman's at it again

Let's get this part out of the way: Yes, we're a tad sensitive about the perception of the Astros: Bumbling GM, War-Profiteering incoming owner, etc. And Jon Heyman's seeming ability to take a shot at the Astros in every possible situation doesn't help matters. His latest effort doesn't help matters:

Before making a couple of trades that brought in a handful of prospects, Astros ownership hired an independent scout to evaluate their entire minor league system. The scout identified fewer than five players who should even play in the major leagues.

First of all, if you're willing to say "fewer than five," just say how many. Four? One? If we cap it at five, give me the five players you think would be on another team's 25-Man roster.

He does go on in the next bullet point to reference an email he got from a scout praising the Pence deal - saying that Singleton is "on the short list of power hitting prospects." And said scout compared Cosart to Daniel Bard or Brandon League.

Borkowski fixed some of Foltynewicz's mechanics

Here's a story from Foltynewicz's hometown about his experiences in Lexington, but the most interesting part is the work done by Legends pitching coach Dave Borkowski:

Foltynewicz's neck would bend back when he would follow through in his delivery, and he wasn't keeping his eye on the glove, so that's part of the reason his wildness came about.

Borkowski also noticed that his pitcher wasn't keeping his leg straight enough coming out of the stretch. Now, Foltynewicz is doing that and he's on more of a downward plane.

"We've made a couple adjustments and it's really helped the command of his fastball, and I think things are going to take off for him," Borkowski said. "He's worked his butt off to make this stuff work."

In April, May, and June Foltynewicz averaged 3.65 BB/9. In his last four starts (21IP), he has walked just five batters, for a 2.14 BB/9 rate.

Good article - definitely worth a click.

Shuck using the Corpus call-ups as motivation

J.B. Shuck is using the recent Corpus call-ups as motivation to work on his game:

I'm using it as motivation a little bit, because that's my ultimate goal. I'm going to continue to work hard and hopefully get to where I want to be and hopefully I can get a chance to go up....It's their decision. I would have liked to go, but I didn't really put together much of a year until last month. Those guys have had some pretty good numbers all year. They deserve it. I played some with J.D. [Martinez] and he can swing it.”

He's right. Shuck's OPS (from April-June, respectively) was .762, .585, and .697. But he has busted out recently, hitting .368/.477/.517 in July, and .462/.543/.641 in his last ten games.

Cosart is also excited about the opportunity

Jarred Cosart is also excited about the opportunity that awaits him in the Astros organization, mainly, having an opportunity in an organization:

"As a player, the No. 1 goal is getting to the big leagues. I didn't think I'd have a chance with the Phillies for at least a couple years. They spent $250 million on three pitchers. Coming here, with a lot of young guys, it's a good opportunity."

Like Oberholtzer, he was also sad, then excited:
I had heard from my agent about the possibility that Singleton was gonna go. It actually took about an hour-and-a-half [for them to tell us]. They were still in the process of finishing it. It was actually a little bit of shock and disbelief at first. It's kind of like a storybook thing, playing for your hometown team. I was kind of in shock at first, but then that turned to excitement. You see they've got a lot of young guys there and a willingness to move young guys up."

Predictably, Drayton did not like trading Pence

Steve Campbell caught up with Drayton about the recent activity in the organization, particularly Hunter Pence:

“I saw him as the future Jeff Bagwell/Craig Biggio-type player. But you’ve got to change. Jim Crane really wants to focus on player development and bringing a new team along in a year or two. That’s part of baseball. You’ve got to really see what’s good for the organization.”

PLAYER DEVELOPMENT!? How preposterous!

Also, Jordan Schafer said the phrase "play good defense" three times in one paragraph.

Brett Oberholtzer was sad, then excited as he realized his situation

Here's an article from Brett Oberholtzer's hometown paper, getting his reaction to the trade:

"This will be a great opportunity. [The Astros] are rebuilding. Being a young, left-handed pitcher, they want to build around guys like me so I thought it was great. I'm ready to get started...

..."I know the Braves loved me. But being behind so many of those guys you'll see playing for the Braves someday ... For me, this is a quicker step to the big leagues."

Wade says he projects to be a middle-of-the-rotation starter.

Click the link for a report on how he and Paul Clemens found out they'd been traded.

Ed Wade really wanted Ross Detwiler

According to's Bill Ladson, the Astros wanted LHP Ross Detwiler as a centerpiece to any deal with the Nationals for Bourn.

LHP Ross Detwiler, is 25 years old, and has thrown 15.1IP in six games for the Nationals - with one start. He's spent most of his time at Triple-A Syracuse, with a 4.53 ERA/1.49 WHIP, in 16 starts.

But I guess it doesn't matter now, does it?

Eddie's Farm: August 2

Oklahoma City (48-63)

Whooooa. Nelson Figueroa did what Nelson Figueroa does, and the RedHawks get swept at home to Omaha (somewhere in middle America), 13-2. A pair of RedHawks pitchers allowed 5ER - Figueroa, in 3.2IP, and Ross Wolf, in 1.2IP. Xavier Cedeno got two outs, allowing a hit, three walks, and 2ER, as well as two of Wolf's earned runs. Juan Abreu made his organizational debut, giving up 4H/1ER, 1K:1BB in 2IP. Fernando Abad threw the only scoreless outing.

Collin DeLome hit his 6th homer of the season, OKC's only extra-base hit; Shuck, Hernandez, Goebbert (in his AAA debut), Locke, and Navarro had your other hits. Koby Clemens drew the only walk.

Man of the Match: Collin DeLome.

Corpus (42-66)

Debuts! One rough inning - the 8th - sunk the Hooks, who lost 4-0 to San Antonio. Jarred Cosart made his organizational debut, throwing 6IP, 2H/0ER, 4K:0BB (47 of 73 pitches for strikes, 10 groundouts and three flyouts.). Josh Zeid threw 1.2IP, gave up 4H/4ER, 2K:0BB; two of those ERs came courtesy of Jason Stoffel, who ended up getting the last San Antonio out.

Jimmy Van Ostrand went 3x4, and Jonathan Villar, Brandon Barnes, Kody Hinze, and Brandon Wikoff had your other hits. There were no extra-base hits, and Chris Wallace had a rough one - going 0x4 with 3Ks.

Man of the Match: Jarrod Cosart

Lancaster (41-67)

Son of a gun. Amazingly, Lancaster actually had a lead in this one - however brief (1-0). Bakersfield had a 17-3 lead at the end of the fifth on their way to a 20-7 win over the JetHawks. Lots of pitchers in this one - seven, in fact. Zach Grimmett took the loss, with 5ER in 1.2IP; Colton Pitkin gave up 4ER, Wander Alvino have up 2ER, Shane Wolf gave up 6ER in 2.1IP. Kyle Greenwalt and Pat Urckfitz threw the only scoreless IPs, and 2B Andy Simunic threw the 8th inning, allowing 3H/3ER, 0K:2BB.

Austin Wates was 3x5 with a two-run homer; Andy Simunic (2B, BB), Jonathan Singleton (1st organizational HR, RBI), and Jonathan Meyer (HR, RBI, BB) had two hits each. David Flores was 1x4 with a two-run homer and a walk.

Man of the Match: Austin Wates

Lexington (49-59)

Kannapolis got the game-winner in the 8th off of Murilo Gouvea, for a 3-2 win. Luis Cruz threw 7IP, 5H/2ER, 9K:1BB with both runs coming on solo homers. Gouvea allowed 4H/1ER, 1K:1BB in 2IP.

Ben Heath was 1x3 with a double and a walk, Tyler Burnett and Ben Orloff added doubles, as well.

Man of the Match: Luis Cruz

Tri-City (17-27)

Dah. Tri-City took a 9-6 lead with a six-run 8th inning, but gave up six runs to Jamestown in the bottom half of the inning, losing 12-9. Euris Quezada threw 4.1IP, 7H/6ER, 2K:4BB, Garrett Bullock and Kristian Bueno threw scoreless outings; Mitchell Lambson failed to record an out, allowing 4H/4ER, two of them courtesy of Ryan Cole, who allowed two more unearned runs on three hits.

Justin Gominsky, Zach Johnson (2B, RBI), Drew Muren (RBI), Rafael Valenzuela (RBI), and Ryan McCurdy (2B, 2RBI) had two hits each. Neiko Johnson was 1x1 with 2RBI, 2SB, and two sacrifices.

Man of the Match: Neiko Johnson

Greeneville (16-25)


GCL Astros (11-25)


From the Office of the County Clerk - G110: Reds @ Astros

One inning. One bad inning, and the Astros lose 5-1 to the Reds.

*Some context: the Astros have lost four of their last five, and nine of their last twelve. Their .327 Win% puts them on pace for a 53-109 record.

*First of all, congrats to Wandy for setting the franchise record for strikeouts by a lefty, passing Bob Knepper.

*Wandy threw 5IP, 4H/5ER, 3K:3BB, allowing four of those runs on a grand slam. Of the 125 homers Wandy has allowed, that's just the third grand slam he has allowed.

*It was Wandy's 20th start, yet it was the first time since April 13 - his third start of the season - that he has failed to record 16 outs.

*Wandy's 78 pitches last night were the fewest in a start since he threw 68 pitches against Texas on June 18, 2010. The issue was the 5th inning AB against Homer Bailey, who saw nine pitches and ended up drawing a walk. It was the second time this season Wandy has walked the pitcher.

*Aneury Rodriguez allowed just one hit, David Carpenter threw a perfect 8th inning, and Enerio Del Rosario gave up two baserunners in 1IP. Since Carpenter gave up 2H/2ER on July 25 against the Cardinals, he has made three appearances (2IP), and faced the minimum six batters, with three strikeouts.

*The Astros managed just five hits (pushing their single-digit hit streak to six games), none from their 4-6 hitters (Lee, Martinez, Barmes). Martinez had the roughest game, going 0x4 with 3Ks.

*Luis Durango had your only RBI, and the top three in the lineup (Durango-Altuve-Bogusevic) went 3x11 with 2K:1BB. *Jimmy Paredes also had a hit and a walk.

*Two Astros saw fewer than ten pitches in the lineup: Carlos Lee (0x4, seven pitches) and Carlos Corporan (1x3, five pitches). Carlos Lee hasn't gotten a hit since July 28, a span of 21 plate appearances.

*Man of the Match: Jimmy Paredes.

*Goat of the Game: Hard to give it to Wandy for one bad inning, but that's pretty much what we're going to do.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

More Tranzactionz!

Darren Headrick has a couple of Tranzactionz for you today:

The Astros promoted Jake Goebbert to OKC from Corpus, and then released OKC pitcher Casey Fien.

Goebbert was hitting .305/.368/.456 for Corpus, with 47K:22BB in 75 games for the Hooks. Fien was 2-2 with a 4.81 ERA/1.48 WHIP in 21 games for OKC, and just returned from a rehab stint in Kissimmee.

Terrifying news about Jack Armstrong

ESPN's John Birtwell took a trip out to the Cape Cod League (again, Insider-only).

A blurb:
In his last outing, Armstrong left after one inning due to tightness in his elbow. I don't know if Armstrong's been hurt as a result of his pitching or if his pitching has suffered because he's been hurt, but either way the inconsistency of Armstrong's body and performance are large hurdles he must overcome at the next level.

Baseball Think Factory Predicts the Astros

Dan Szymborski takes a stab at predicting the not-too-distant future (Insider-Only) for the Astros, and predictably, it's not pretty.

As always, we don't like to pull too much from a pay-site, but there are a couple of nuggets we can pass along without giving away that Dumbledore will be Castro's backup, and Jim Crane will sign Hagrid as SP5 in 2012.

*After Monte Carlo-ing the season, the Astros "only" lost more games than the 1962 Mets 1.5% of the time.
*Altuve is picked for a 1.5 WAR season in 2012.

While this season is probably the club's nadir, next season will be a first -- albeit painful -- step back to respectability.

Do you want to see Stubby Clapp flip his crap?

Tri-City manager Stubby Clapp went absolutely guano crazy yesterday after Matt Duffy was hit by a pitch, and called back after umpire Jeff Andrews said Duffy leaned into the pitch. That's where the following happened (captip to Top Prospect Alert for the video):

Here's a link to Albany Times-Union's Mark Mcguire's post on the tirade.

Ed Wade didn't favor the Phillies

The Philadelphia Inquirer's Bob Brookover has a good piece on what happened with the Pence deal, and the perceived favoritism towards the Phillies from Ed Wade.

There's so much in the article that we're not even going to pull anything - you should read it for yourself.

There is a little throw-away line that deserves some attention, for Astros fans:
A baseball source indicated that the Astros' annually shrinking payroll will continue to plummet even after Crane officially takes control of the team.

Before you get all worked up, remember that part of the plummeting payroll will include Carlos Lee, who could make up to 30% of the Astros payroll, coming off the books after Crane takes over. If Crane has indicated that payroll will continue to shrink, it means the youth movement has begun, and stupid free agent signings has ended. Which is good news all around.

This guy thinks the trade deadline ruins baseball

Here's an article out of Fox Sports Detroit that says the real loser at the trade deadline was Baseball.

It's not a 162-game grind anymore. It's a 100-game push for teams to position themselves as buyers or sellers by the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

It's making quitters out of some teams, the so-called sellers.

There were reports last week that the Chicago White Sox, 4-1/2 games out of first place at the time, had to win the final game of a series against the first-place Detroit Tigers to avoid a potential fire sale. Meanwhile, baseball's worst team, the Houston Astros, were depleting themselves of major league talent in hopes of a better future.

Yeah, that really hurts Baseball (which has apparently been humanized) - to be able to evaluate your team and adjust in the middle of the season like that. Baseball doesn't like it when a struggling team has a piece they can trade to get better down the road. You would think that a journalist would not equate "selling" with "quitting." The Astros have made some ignorant decisions over the past five years, and were able to remedy some of those mistakes with trades. Sure, the Astros got rid of the franchise's most popular and recognizable players, but were able to bring in much-needed prospects.

Let's keep reading:
You also might say it's exciting to be a fan of a team that strengthens itself for the stretch run. Clubs with deep farm systems are rewarded because they can afford to give up prospects for immediate help.

That's all true, but it still irritates me to see teams throw in the towel with two months to play.

I would say it's exciting to be a fan of a team that strengthens itself for the stretch run. The days of Randy Johnson and Carlos Beltran were among the most fun times to be an Astros fan. Good teams are good because they have developed former prospects into solid major-league talent. And good teams are excellent when they can help themselves in the short-term when they have good, expendable prospects to deal for a missing piece (see: Braves, Atlanta; Phillies, Philadelphia). Clubs with deep farm systems can help teams with weak farm systems. That's how it has worked since Branch Rickey invented the farm system, and Marvin Miller came off of Mt. Sinai with the stone tablets of free agency.

The Astros did what they did because, while the prospect side is improving, they don't have the top-of-the-line major-league talent (Maybe they do, that's why Martinez, Altuve, and Paredes were in the lineup last night). Even with two good players in Pence and Bourn, they still had the worst record in baseball. The System allows teams to trade those players - by a predetermined date - to a team who had a better plan, in order to get better in the future? The first step to becoming a good franchise is to get better in the farm system, which is what the Astros did. At the trade deadline.

For the integrity of the pennant races, teams should play the same game from Opening Day through No. 162.

They don't do that.

And they shouldn't. It's preposterous to think that a system in place when a team can't properly evaluate its situation mid-season is a loser. If the issue is free agency, then call it that. If the issue is that Fox Sports Detroit's Greg Lucas didn't like it that the Indians got better in the short-term, or the White Sox didn't necessarily get worse, then call it that, too. Baseball has a number of unwritten rules, the season means different things to different teams, and to say that every team has to follow the plan they began with is ridiculous, both in baseball, and in "real life."

What will Wallace and Johnson be working on in OKC?

I have to be honest, when I wrote the title of the post I mistakenly wrote "Wallace and Gromit."

Anyhow, in this article, we find that a checklist of things for Wallace and Johnson to work on has been passed on to manager Tony DeFrancesco (Mills expects both to be back for September call-ups). What could those things be?

For Wallace, that list probably includes identifying breaking balls (/snicker). FanGraphs says that he has a -5.5 wCB (Runs above average when seeing a curveball), a -3.6 wCH (changeup), and -1.0 wSF (splitty). He's also swinging at 31.8% of pitches outside the strike zone. And if Tony DeFrancesco sits him against LHPs, I'm going to burn down an orphanage.

For Johnson, he's going to have to prove that he won't just swing at everything. In 2009, his K% at Triple-A was 21.8% - which turned out to be fairly accurate for his last two years (it dropped to 14.1% in his short stint at AAA in 2010). In 2010, his MLB K% was 25.1% and was 24% at the time of his demotion. The only pitch type Johnson has a positive value against (again, according to FanGraphs) is the split-fingered fastball (1.1). He's getting killed on curves (-5.0) and sliders (-3.1), and even four-seam fastballs (-4.3). He's swinging at 42% of pitches outside the strike zone, and is seeing a first-pitch strike 63.8% of the time, with 12.1% swinging strikes.

Johnson is just going to have to work on his pitch selection. And his defense. Definitely his defense.

Bud ain't worried about that blister

Bud Norris isn't worried about the blister that worked itself all into a frenzy during last night's start:

"I'm going to be all right. I've dealt with it my entire career, whether it be in high school to Double-A to the big leagues. It's something I'm going to have to deal with."

Let me tell you something. I decided to go running yesterday morning for the first time since, um, March. I have blisters on my toes the size of silver dollars, and there's no way I will be 100% in five days.

Charlie Manuel tried to warn Dave Clark, but Dave Clark didn't listen

David Murphy's Phillies Notebook for today has a funny little anecdote from the opening series in Philadelphia:

"Myself, I liked Pence," the manager said. "Spring training. The start of the season. Last winter."

Manuel said he joked with Astros third-base coach Dave Clark when Houston was in Philadelphia to open the regular season.

"I've known him a long time," Manuel said. "I told him, 'I'm gonna get Pence.' He said, 'No you're not.'"


Got a lot of tranzactionz for you from the last 36 hours:

The big one of the day was the very-much-overdue promotion of Dallas Keuchel to Triple-A from Corpus, as well as Xavier Cedeno's promotion. OKC pitcher Brad Hennessey was released.

Activated Brandon Barnes from the temporarily inactive list (Baby).

Pitcher Robby Donovan was placed on the 7-Day DL, effective July 30.

Hector Rodriguez was brought to Lexington from Tri-City, and Jhonny Medrano was played on the TIL

Eddie's Farm: August 1

Oklahoma City (48-62)

Despite out-hitting Omaha 6-4, Omaha out-scored OKC 2-0. Starting pitcher Lucas Harrell got tossed in the 2nd, and had a line of 1.1IP, 3H/2ER, 1K:0BB before his ejection. Wesley Wright threw 3.2 perfect innings, Doug Arguello threw two perfect innings, and Mickey Storey added a perfet inning in relief before Jeff Fulchino broke up a streak of 21 consecutive outs by RedHawks' pitchers.

J.B. Shuck is playing like a man on fire, getting another 3x4 game with a double. Robinson Cancel (BB), Collin DeLome (2SB), and Tommy Manzella added a hit.

Man of the Match: The bullpen.

Corpus (42-65)

Corpus had a 3-2 lead going into the bottom of the 7th, but Midland got two in the bottom half, for a 4-3 win over the Hooks. Jonnathan Aristil allowed 5H/2ER, 2K:5BB in 4.2IP; Blake King allowed 2R (1ER) in 2IP with an HBP and a walk (4Ks, though). Henry Villar gave up the hit that scored both 7th inning runs.

Brandon Barnes, Kody Hinze (BB, RBI), Jimmy Van Ostrand (BB), Chris Wallace (HR), Jon Gaston (2B, OF assist), and Brandon Wikoff had your hits.

Man of the Match: Chris Wallace

Lancaster (41-66)

Bakersfield got two runs in the bottom of the 5th for a 4-3 win over the JetHawks. Jose Cisnero threw 5IP, but gave up 6H/4R (3ER), 7K:3BB; Wes Musick threw three scoreless IPs, allowing four hits and striking out two.

Austin Wates (2B, RBI), Jonathan Singleton (2B), Jonathan Meyer, and Erik Castro (BB, RBI) had two hits each. Miguel Arrendell got a double and a walk, and Rene Garcia hit a triple, and drew a walk. Jose Carlos Thompson was 0x5 with 3K.

Man of the Match: Austin Wates

Lexington (49-58)

Lexington got six runs in the bottom of the 4th, but found themselves trailing Kannapolis 7-6 in the bottom of the 9th. Runs in both that half-inning, and the bottom of the 11th gave the Legends an 8-7 win. Ruben Alaniz threw 5IP, 2H/3R (0ER); David Martinez allowed 3H/3R (1ER) in 3IP; Brian Streilein gave up 2H/1ER, 0K:3BB in 2IP, and Jason Chowning got the win with 1IP, 2H/0ER. Yes, five errors led to five unearned runs.

Emilio King was 3x5 with an outfield assist; Jay Austin (2RBI) and Dan Adamson (HR, 4RBI) had two hits each. Telvin Nash and Tyler Burnett (H) drew two walks each.

Man of the Match: Dan Adamson

Tri-City (17-26)

Auburn was all over Tri-City in a 13-6 win. Jonas Dufek allowed 9H/5R (2ER), 5K:1BB in 3.2IP; Dayan Diaz allowed two hits and two walks (1ER); Ebert Rosario gave up 3H/2R (1ER) in 1IP, and Travis Blankenship had the Ugly with 4H/5ER, 3K:2BB in 2IP.

Brandon Meredith hit his first professional homer and added a walk to go with 2RBI. Matt Duffy (2B), Drew Muren (BB, RBI), and Neiko Johnson (BB, 2RBI) had two hits each. Bubby Williams hit his fourth homer of the year.

Man of the Match: Brandon Meredith

Greeneville (16-25)

Greeneville got a pair of three-run innings on their way to a 7-2 win over Princeton. Tyson Perez threw 5IP, 4H/0ER, 2K:0BB; Jeremiah Meiners and Brad Propst allowed a 1H/1ER, and a walk in 2IP each.

Chase Davidson was 2x4 with his 10th homer of the season, Alex Todd was 2x3 with a double and an RBI. Ariel Ovando was 1x4 with a double and 2RBI.

Man of the Match: Chase Davidson.

*From the Office of the County Clerk - G109: Reds @ Astros

Way-hey! Astros get a walk-off courtesy of Jose Altuve and beat the Reds, 4-3.

*The average age of the eight position players on Opening Day was 29.6 years old. This lineup averaged 27.4 years old, with Durango, Altuve, Martinez, and Paredes 25 years old or under.

*Bud Norris took advantage of some decidedly clutchless hitting by the Reds (who went 3x17 w/RISP). Norris threw 5IP, 10H/3ER, 2K:3BB in the no decision. The Reds left seven men on base while Norris was in the game.

*Norris' 2K were the fewest since June 8, when he allowed 1H/1ER, 2K:5BB against St. Louis. It's the 5th time this season (22 starts) that he hasn't gotten at least one out in the 6th.

*The bullpen of Fernando Rodriguez, Sergio Escalona, David Carpenter, and Mark Melancon allowed just 1H/0ER, 4K:1BB in 5IP of relief.

*Melancon got his 6th win of the season, breaking a tie with Bud Norris for 2nd-most wins on the team (Wandy had seven).

*The Astros got nine hits off the Reds, and that's the fifth game in a row they've failed to record double-digit hits, the longest streak since a nine-game stretch from May 4-13.

*The top four in your lineup (Durango-Altuve-Bourgeois-Lee) went for a combined 0x14, 2K:2BB (Bogusevic replaced Durango, and got a hit and a walk). The bottom four in the lineup (Martinez-Barmes-Paredes-Quintero) went 7x16 with 1K:0BB.

*Clint Barmes led the way with a 3x4 night. Over the last week, Barmes is 8x23 with a double, homer, and a walk.

*Humberto Quintero was 2x4 with an RBI. In his last ten games, he's 11x34.

*Congratulations to Jimmy Paredes who, as Rowan Kavner points out, is the first player in franchise history to triple in his first ML plate appearance.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Updated rosters

In light of the recent influx of prospects, here's a rundown of where they went on Eddie's Farm:

Keppinger trade

Henry Sosa - Corpus
Jason Stoffel - Corpus

Pence trade

Jarrod Cosart - Corpus
Jonathan Singleton - Lancaster
Josh Zeid - Corpus

Bourn trade

Juan Abreu - Oklahoma City
Paul Clemens - Corpus
Brett Oberholtzer - Corpus
Jordan Schafer - DL

Jim Callis' updated Astros prospect list

Via Alyson Footer, Jim Callis posted his Top 10 Prospect list for the newStros:

1. Jonathan Singleton, 1b/of
2. Jarred Cosart, rhp
3. George Springer, of
4. Jonathan Villar, ss
5. Brett Oberholtzer, lhp
6. Paul Clemens, rhp
7. Mike Foltynewicz, rhp
8. Delino DeShields, Jr., 2B
9. Jimmy Paredes, 2b/3b
10. Ariel Ovando, of

Click the link for a one-sentence description, but there are a couple of things to note about this list.

*Six of the top 10 prospects (according to Callis) were acquired by trades in the last 370 days.
*Once George Springer signs, he'll immediately become the #3 prospect in the organization.

If we go back and look at Keith Law's Top 100 prospects list from February, the Astros have now acquired #27 (Singleton), #34 (Cosart), in addition to #42 (Lyles) - who is obviously already in the Majors.

Heyman, on the Yankees/Wandy

Jon Heyman had a series of tweets yesterday afternoon following the deadline where he gave some info about Wandy and the Yankees, such as:

The Yankees were willing to take about $21m of Wandy's remaining $38m. They're now unlikely to revisit Wandy after he clears waivers, given Banuelos' progress. The Indians and Blue Jays were only interested in Wandy as part of a three-way trade, presumably sending Wandy to the Yankees, after all.

So who knows if Wandy gets moved this month.

Rosenthal had this to say about the deal that wasn't:

The Astros, on the other hand, were willing to pay $2 million of Rodriguez’s salary this season or $5 million if his option for 2014 were exercised, sources said. But the teams, unable to bridge the financial gap, never even got to the point of discussing names.

Grading the Media

We can all give Ed Wade an incomplete, or at least a C- (B+ on the Pence deal, F- on the Bourn deal), but what about the Media? Let's give them a grade, eh? Now, we won't grade them on accuracy, as we - the bourgeois - have no idea the multitude of angles, the disinformation intentionally being sent out by teams, etc.

Houston Media - Incomplete

I have a problem with the fact that we had to turn to national writers to get news and rumors about the Astros. Richard Justice didn't have anything until 1:46pm Sunday. We'll call it incomplete because someone was talking to the media - it may have just not been the Astros.

This will obviously be something to work on with Crane and whomever he brings in at GM.

Ken Rosenthal: A

No one hit the rumors harder than Rosenthal. Via Twitter, or Fox Sports' Trade Buzz website, Rosenthal had up to date - and what turned out to be mostly accurate - information before anyone else. And where it seems like everyone else had a wonderful time slamming the Astros, Rosenthal at least tried to keep an even perspective for Houston.

Jon Paul Morosi: A-

He didn't have the rumor volume that Rosenthal had, but had a lot of good information.

David O'Brien: B+

The Braves' beat writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, he turned out to be extremely accurate in his read on the Bourn deal (a deal would mean the Jordan Schafer era is over, etc.)

Joel Sherman: B+

Coming up on our radar screen because of the Yankees' rumored interest in Wandy Rodriguez, Sherman did a solid, solid job of keeping his followers on Twitter abreast of what the Yankees were up to. (Nothing, it turns out.)

Jerry Crasnick: B

In reference to the Astros, didn't have a whole lot of information on the deadline, but what he had was solid.

Buster Olney: B-

Olney also had a lot of good information, but it's our completely uninformed opinion that he got worked over by the Braves on Saturday morning in reference to the Pence-to-Phillies deal. Knocked down a notch for his little joke about the Astros getting realigned to the PCL - for which Bud Norris called him out.

Jon Heyman: D

Of course we're sensitive to this as we took the snide remarks about the organization personally, but Heyman acted more like an irresponsible blogger for his comments and retweets about Ed Wade and the Astros. It's one thing to be an ass-clown as a blogger, but as a nationally-respected journalist, to have this list attributed to you is indefensible. Had a lot of good information overshadowed (for us) by his perceived glee at Ed Wade's moves.

Eddie's Farm: July 31

Oklahoma City (48-61)

Omaha (somewhere in middle America) scored nine runs before OKC got their first one, and cruised to a 12-3 win. Brad Hennessey was your starter, and went 2.2IP, allowing 11H/9ER, 1K:2BB; Sam Gervacio came in in relief, and allowed 1H/0ER, 0K:1BB in 3.1IP. Casey Fien gave up 2ER in 1IP, Fernando Abad allowed 1ER in 1IP, and Ross Wolf threw a scoreless 9th.

J.B. Shuck was 3x4 with an RBI triples; Oswaldo Navarro was 2x4 with an RBI; Robinson Cancel, J.R. Towles, and Wladimir Sutil had your other hits, and Brian Bogusevic was hitless, but drew two walks.

Man of the Match: J.B. Shuck

Corpus (48-62)

Corpus had a pair of four-run innings, Midland scored the final six runs of the game, but Corpus had the edge, winning 8-7 at Midland. The Hooks used six pitchers: Henry Sosa came back to earth, allowing 9H/6ER, 3K:2BB in 4.2IP; Arcenio Leon got the win with 2H/1R (0ER); Chris Hicks (1.1IP), Josh Zeid (0.2IP), Xavier Cedeno (0.1IP) threw scoreless outings, and Jason Stoffel got his 3rd save since coming over from the Giants organization. Three of the six pitchers used were acquired in trades over the last ten days.

Jimmy Van Ostrand was 3x4 with a walk; Brandon Wikoff (BB, RBI) and Jon Gaston (HR, 3RBI) had two hits each; Jonathan Villar added a solo homer, T.J. Steele drew two walks, and Jose Vallejo was 1x4 with 2RBI.

Man of the Match: Jon Gaston

Lancaster (41-65)

Lancaster had a two-run lead twice, and gave it up once in a 4-3 win over Bakersfield. Our Boy Andrew Robinson threw 6IP, 8H/2ER, 6K:1BB, improving to 5-8; Kyle Greenwalt threw 2IP, allowing 1H/1R (0ER), 2K:1BB; Kirk Clark threw 1IP, giving up nada.

Erik Castro was 2x3 with two solo homers (6th/7th of the year); David Flores added a solo homer and a single, and Austin Wates had your other RBI. Newcomer Jonathan Singleton got a double in his JetHawks debut, and Grant Hogue got a double, going 1x2.

Man of the Match: Erik Castro

Lexington (48-58)

Lexington got two runs in the bottom of the first, but Rome chipped away, ultimately winning 3-2. Mike Foltynewicz threw 6IP, 5H/2R (1ER), 3K:1BB; Gabe Garcia took the loss, allowing 5H/1ER, 1K:0BB, in 3IP.

Lexington only got three hits on the day: Ben Orloff (BB), Ben Heath (RBI), Dan Adamson (RBI), and Mike Kvasnicka, Telvin Nash, Bryce Lane, and Jhonny Medrano drew walks.

Man of the Match: Mike Foltynewicz

Tri-City (17-25)

The ValleyCats never led in this one, losing 6-1 to Auburn. Juri Perez lasted 3.1IP, 7H/4ER, 3K:3BB; Travis Smink allowed 2H/2ER, 1K:1BB in 1.2IP; Joan Belliard (2IP), Kristian Bueno (3BB), and Ryan Cole threw scoreless outings.

And lots of walks, only two hits (Drew Muren, Hector Rodriguez) to report. Miles Hamblin (3BB), John Hinson and Neiko Johnson each drew two walks. Zach Johnson and Jacke Healey had your other walks.

Man of the Match: Gah. How about Miles Hamblin, went 0x1, but with three walks?

Greeneville (15-25)

Princeton got three in the top of the 1st, and that was all they needed for a 6-1 win over the Gastros. Ricardo Batista threw 4IP, 5H/3ER, 3K:4BB; Rodney Quintero walked two, allowing an earned run; Paris Shewey gave up 2H/1ER in 1.2IP, and Zach Dando allowed 3H/1ER, 1K:1BB.

Luis Alvarez was 2x3 with a walk, Jorge Sosa (BB), Jesse Wierzbicki, Chase Davidson, Ariel Ovando (2B), and Darwin Rivera (BB) all had a hit each.

Man of the Match: Luis Alvarez

GCL Astros (11-24)

Despite allowing two runs in the top of the 9th, the GCL Astros beat the GCL Cardinals 4-3. Enderson Franco threw 5IP, 5H/1ER, 2K:3BB; Juan Mojica allowed 2H/0ER in 2IP, Steve Dennison gave up a hit in 1IP, and Blake Ford gave up 5H/2ER in the 9th.

Jose Fernandez was 2x4 with a double and an RBI, and Rafael Valenzuela and Justin Shults had your other RBIs.

Man of the Match: Enderson Franco

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Astros acting like an "expansion team"

Jayson Stark's Trade Deadline Winners and Losers column lists Ed Wade and the Astros squarely in the Losers column:

The Astros just about invited their fan base to go order some chimichangas, watch a lot of high school football and not stop back at the ballpark for like the next thousand days -- because the entertainment provided by their baseball team between now and then isn't going to be much fun.

"They're basically starting to shape themselves for 2015," said one NL executive. "It's almost like they're doing an expansion team."

That's a couple of awesome stereotypes about Houstonians, dontcha think?

Johnson, Wallace never saw this coming

Mark Berman talked to Chris Johnson, who was predictably shocked by this evening's news:

"They called me and Wally in and said they were sending us to Oklahoma City to clear our heads and get things going. Oh yea, we were shocked. They said they got a month left and we're going to go there and just play. It's really tough. It's a big blow. I know I had a tough start, but the organization is making some changes and I guess me and Wally aren't part of it. We've gone through the grind all year. I've battled, learned and made adjustments. It's shocking. It's tough. It's not something we expected, but the organization is going in a different direction I guess.

They're making changes, going young and bringing up some younger guys and to send us out tells you maybe they don't want you to really be a part of it. We're just going to have to try to work harder and win them back, I guess."

Communication hasn't exactly been the Astros' strong point, but yeah, they're going to have to go back to OKC and win them over again.

I would say that Wallace has a longer leash than Johnson. There's no one really at Triple-A contending for a 1B/3B spot. Kody Hinze is raking at Corpus, but has only been there a month or so. If they can go back and get it going again, it could re-inspire confidence in both.

Super Domingo Tranzacciones!

Holy Hannah. Just because Wandy wasn't traded doesn't mean there wasn't a big-time overhaul of the team today.

Here's what went down:

Chris Johnson and Brett Wallace have been sent to Oklahoma City. Jimmy Paredes - who came over with Mark Melancon in the Berkman/NY trade last July - is your new third baseman, coming straight up from Corpus. Of the six Hooks to ever jump Triple-A, three have been in the last two weeks (Altuve, Martinez).

Carlos Lee is your presumed 1B as Brian Bogusevic has been called up from OKC.

Sucks for both of them, but it's probably for the best. They've both had terrible stretches in the last two months, and with Mills flip-flopping on whether to put them in the lineup, they can go to OKC to get their heads right.

Johnson's OPS, by month (w/BABIP in parentheses):
April: .531 (.231)
May: .714 (.290)
June .801 (.370)
July .578 (.347)

Wallace, same thing:
April: .988 (.471)
May: .719 (.299)
June: .657 (.340)
July .433 (.261)

It's scary that Johnson's .578 OPS was propped up by a .347 BABIP, same thing was Wallace's June.

Paredes isn't exactly lighting up Corpus. First, his primary position is 2B. At Whataburger Field, he's hitting .312/.346/.455, with 44K:10BB. On the road, he's hitting .224/.249/.393. In July, it's a .282/.315/.504 line, with five of his ten homers coming this month. In his last ten games, he's hitting .220/.233/.317.

Can't help but feel as though maybe the Astros are reaching on Paredes. Anderson Hernandez has played 41 games at 3B for OKC, and is hitting .353/.430/.447 in July. Don't get me wrong, I'd prefer the Astros give Paredes a shot, but it just seems odd.

That's a wrap


And that'll do it for this round. Just because Myers, Wandy, and Michaels are still on the team doesn't mean they'll make it to September. All will likely be put on waivers - likely clear them - making them tradebait. We'll have grades later on this evening. For now, though, a nap. Hope you enjoyed the last three days.

Sunday Rumor Post

Here's your perpetual post for Sunday afternoon - the deadline is at 3pm Central.

Morosi, 2:57pm:
Yankees aren't in on any big-name pitchers now.

Rosenthal, 2:48pm:
Wandy staying, "For now."

Stark, 2:45pm:
Astros are telling teams they're done for today.

Morosi, 2:37pm:
Wandy "likely" staying with Astros

Morosi, 2:28pm:
Nothing close on Wandy in the last ten minutes

Gregor Chisholm, 2:14pm:
Don't read too much into Wandy-to-Toronto, for now.

Rosenthal, 2:13pm:
Astros not confident they can move Wandy by deadline. August trade possible.

Knobler, 2:01pm:
Confirms Blue Jays called about Wandy, doesn't know level of interest

Stark, 1:58pm:
If Wandy goes anywhere, it'll be Blue Jays, according to Stark - but nothing close, "for now."

Justice, 1:53pm:
Wandy-to-Cleveland has "cooled," with other offers "percolating"

Sherman, 1:52pm:
Wade wanted the Yankees to send good prospects, and not take any cash for Wandy.

Stark, 1:51pm:
Wandy to Yankees "officially dead."

Morosi, 1:50pm:
Wandy to Blue Jays "makes sense."

Gammons, 1:49pm:
Last 75 minutes produce "major rush" for Wandy

Morosi, 1:48pm:
Blue Jays have entered "bidding war" for Wandy.

Olney, 1:47pm
As of 1:35, Yankees weren't in deep talks on anyone.

Justice, 1:46pm"
Justice hears the Astros are close to dealing Wandy to the Indians for two minor-leaguers.

Heyman, 1:44pm
Astros don't want to pay any of Wandy's remaining contract. Heyman "can't see him going anywhere now."

Heyman, 1:02pm:
Wandy's remaining salary means that he should pass through waivers, so there's no rush to get a deal done today.

Morosi, 12:56pm:
Yankees are in on Wandy. Reds, Red Sox, Rangers are not.

Morosi, 12:29pm:
Rangers are not in on Wandy

McTaggart, 12:28pm:
Thinks a deal could get done with Yankees for Wandy

Heyman, 12:03pm:
Yankees want Astros to pay a "significant" chunk of Wandy's salary

Heyman, 11:53am:
Astros shouldn't have signed Wandy to the extension (derp)

Heyman, 11:23am:
The Yankees aren't necessarily fans of Wandy or his contract, but "need to do something."

Rosenthal, 11:20am
Yankees "trying" on Wandy

Rosenthal, 10:25am:
Astros want "impact prospects" for Wandy, but know they need to pay a lot of his salary for that to happen

Reaction to the Bourn deal

Yahoo's Jeff Passan:
I'd say I'm stunned the Astros didn't get one potential impact piece in return for Michael Bourn, but then I remembered it's the Astros.

Keith Law (Insider-only):
The return for Houston however is shockingly poor -- quantity over quality, to say the least -- and can't do Ed Wade any good in extending his status as GM beyond "lame duck." It makes me wonder if Houston had a ranking of Atlanta's top 25 prospects but looked at it upside-down.

Ken Rosenthal:
#Astros should be pleased by return of Shafer, Oberholtzer, Clemens, Abreu. #Braves were high on all of them.

Who are these former Braves?

Let's take a look at the players the Astros received from the Braves, shall we?

Jordan Schafer

6'1" 200lb, 24-year old lefty CF from Hammond Indiana - 3rd Round pick by the Braves in 2005.

Schafer is the best-known quantity in the deal, hitting a homer in his first career AB off of - yes - Brett Myers. In 2009, Schafer hit .204/.313/.287 for the Braves, in 50 games, and was packed back to Triple-A Gwinnett. He did come back to the Braves, hitting .240/.307/.316 in 52 games in 2011. He's currently on the DL thanks to a fractured left middle finger.

Brett Oberholtzer

6'2" 230lb LHP, 22-year old 8th Round pick in the 2008 draft by Atlanta.

Oberholtzer carries a career 25-20 record, with a 3.35 ERA / 1.16 WHIP, and a 3.79 K:BB ratio in the minors. He split time between Single-A Rome and High-A Myrtle Beach in 2010, going a combined 6-8 with a 3.78 ERA / 1.17 WHIP in 2010, and moved up to Double-A Mississippi in 2011, where he has thrown 127.2IP (still 8IP under his 2010 total), allowing 119H/53ER, 93K:42BB.

Paul Clemens

6'4" 180lb 23-year old RHP from Columbia, South Carolina, drafted in the 7th Round of the 2008 draft by Atlanta.

Clemens is also at Double-A Mississippi in 2011, where he has thrown 108.2IP, 103H/45ER, 93K:44BB for a 3.73 ERA / 1.35 WHIP. In 2010, he followed Oberholtzer's path (Rome/Myrtle Beach), and went a combined 2-4, with a 3.23 ERA / 1.37 WHIP, and a 2.25 K:BB ratio.

Juan Abreu

6'0" 180lb, 26-year old RHP from the Dominican Republic.

For Triple-A Gwinnett, Abreu has appeared solely in relief, posting a 2.25 ERA / 1.27 WHIP in 41 games. In 48IP, he has allowed 34H/12ER, 68K:27BB, and 5HR allowed. He missed all of 2007, but has the best numbers in his career coming out of Triple-A.

Astros on verge of trading Bourn

Rosenthal just announced the Braves are getting Michael Bourn for "four minor leaguers," as yet unnamed. Watch this space.

Names coming out, none of The Four Untouchables:
Jordan Schafer, CF
Brett Oberholtzer, LHP
Juan Abreu, RHP
Paul Clemens, RHP

We'll have full reaction once church is over, but right now it looks as though the edge goes to the Braves, who got what they needed without giving up any of their top four prospects.