Saturday, June 16, 2012

Norris to DL, Keuchel up

Bud Norris has been placed on the 15-Day Disabled List and Dallas Keuchel has been called up to take his place for tomorrow's start.

So what's up with Keuchel? Well, the lefty is 5-4 for OKC in 2012 with a 4.26 ERA/1.26 WHIP, with 46K:15BB. He has allowed as many homers in 80.1IP (five) as he did in seven short, largely ineffective starts (36IP) for OKC in 2011.

In his last three starts (16.2IP), Keuchel has allowed 17H/6ER, 16K:2BB.

In the process of working this up, Jayne from What the Heck Bobby tweeted out something that was exactly where I was heading: Keuchel will be the 2nd member of the Astros' 2009 draft class to make it to the Majors, joining J.D. Martinez - who was drafted 13 rounds and 390 selections after Keuchel.

Meat Wagon update

Bud Norris is unlikely to start on Sunday due to the sprained knee he suffered against the Giants on Tuesday.

"He said he was still a little tentative with it to where he wasn't sure if he was actually going to feel it when he landed."

Wilton Lopez is headed to the DL with a sprained right elbow. Fernando Abad has been activated. Lopez has appeared in 32 games - 4th-most in baseball (and two games behind Wesley Wright, the 2nd-most-used reliever in baseball).

And it looks like Carlos Lee will be back tomorrow (Sunday). Measure your celebrations accordingly.

Kirk Saarloos now a Horned Frog

Former Astro Kirk Saarloos has been hired as an assistant baseball coach by TCU.

PreStros: June 15

Oklahoma City (40-28)

Round Rock got two runs in the bottom of the 1st, and that was all the scoring, as the RedHawks were held to four hits, and 0x7 w/RISP. Brian Bass allowed 9H/2ER, 1K:4BB in 6IP, and Mickey Storey struck out two in 2IP.

Brandon Barnes was the only JetHawk to get an XBH, and also to get a hit and a walk.

Man of the Match: Brandon Barnes

Corpus (34-32)

Frisco scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the 8th for a 3-2 win over Corpus. Ross Seaton allowed 7H/2ER, 7K:0BB in 7IP; Kevin Chapman took the loss with 1s across the board.

Carlos Lee continued his rehab with a 2x3 game; Kody Hinze hit his 7th homer of the season, and Jon Singleton added the other RBI.

Man of the Match: Ross Seaton.

Lancaster (36-33)

The JetHawks flat-out went off on Inland Empire, scoring runs in seven of eight innings in a 14-4 win. David Martinez threw 7IP, 2H/0ER, 5K:0BB, WP; Brad Dydalewicz allowed 7H/4ER, 1K:2BB in 2IP to raise his ERA to 8.49.

Four players had three-hit games: George Springer (2B, BB, RBI, OF-assist), Erik Castro (2B, 3RBI), Domingo Santana (2B, BB, 3RBI),and Chris Epps (3B, HR, 4RBI). Rafael Valenzuela was 2x4 with a triple and an RBI; Ben Heath was 2x5.

Man of the Match: Chris Epps.

Lexington (37-30)

Rough one for the Legends as they took a 3-2 lead into the top of the 9th, and ended up losing 5-3 to Asheville. Luis Cruz threw eight strong innings: 7H/2ER, 5K:1BB, 2WP, HBP, and two pickoffs; but Carlos Quevedo blew it up, getting the BS/L with 3H/3ER, 2K:0BB.

Delino DeShields was 2x4 with an RBI, and stole two more bases to take (I think) sole possession of 3rd place in all of minor league baseball with 45 steals, only about 120 behind Willie Mays-Hayes in the Reds' organization. Justin Gominsky was also 2x4 with a double and an RBI. Matt Duffy was 1x3 with a walk. And Jay Austin is back! He was 1x4 with an RBI, stolen base, and an outfield assist.

Man of the Match: Luis Cruz.

Friday, June 15, 2012

PreStros: June 14

Oklahoma City (40-27)

At one point, OKC had an 8-1 lead on Round Rock, and ultimately settled for a 10-6 win. Just as a very satisfying aside, OKC also has an 11.5 game lead on Round Rock. It's not like we're going to start talking smack to Rangers fans, but there's a petty part of me who is laughing at the Round Rock citizens who wanted the Rangers' affiliate "because they win." Anyhow: Sergio Perez allowed 2H/1ER, 2K:5BB in 3.2IP; Adalberto Flores got the win, allowing two walks in 2.1IP; Jonnathan Aristil got the Ugly with 3H/5ER, 2K:2BB in 1.1IP (in his last 2.1IP, Aristil has allowed 6H/7ER, 2HR), and Enerio Del Rosario recorded his 1st save with 2H/0ER in 1.2IP.

Scott Moore was 4x4 with a walk and 2RBI; Brandon Barnes (3R, 2B, HR, 4RBI) and Jimmy Paredes (2B) had three hits each. Mike Hessman added two RBIs. Everyone got a hit, except Landon Powell, who at least drew a walk.

Man of the Match: Brandon Barnes

Corpus (34-31)

Corpus jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the 1st on a rehabbing Carlos Lee's 2-run homer, but Frisco scored the next four runs for a 4-3 win. Jarred Cosart allowed 5H/4R (3ER), 2K:3BB in 6IP; Arcenio Leon threw the final 2IP, allowing 2H/0ER, 2K:0BB.

Jair Fernandez was 2x3 with a double and an RBI; Andy Simunic and Jon Singleton had hits. Adam Bailey drew a walk and stole a base.

Man of the Match: I'm not giving a Double-A Man of the Match to Carlos Lee, so Jair Fernandez.

Lancaster (35-33)

Wild one in Lancaster as Inland Empire and the JetHawks traded 5-run innings in the 4th. The JetHawks scored the final six runs of the game for a 12-8 win over the 66ers. Ruben Alaniz had a rough time, allowing 11H/8ER, 5K:2BB, 3HR in 4IP; Brian Streilein picked up the win with 1H/0ER, 2K:0BB in 2.2IP; Pat Urckfitz and Andrew Robinson held Inland Empire scoreless over the last 2.1IP.

Despite going 3x14 w/RISP, the JetHawks put up some offense. George Springer and Alex Todd each went 3x4 with a walk, with Springer hitting his 13th and 14th homers, and Todd hitting his 1st. Jonathan Meyer (2x5, 2RBI) and Enrique Hernandez (2x5, 2RBI) each hit homers, as well. Telvin Nash was 0x2, but drew three walks.

Man of the Match: George Springer.

Lexington (37-29)

Asheville scored a run in the top of the 9th for a 5-4 win over the Legends. Luis Ordosgoitti allowed 9H/4ER, 4K:1BB in 6IP; Blake Ford gave up two hits, but held the Tourists scoreless; Murilo Gouvea took the loss with 2H/1ER, 1K:1BB in the final 2IP.

Jesse Wierzbicki was 2x4 with a double and an RBI, Justin Gominsky was 2x4 with an outfield assist. Matt Duffy hit his 11th homer of the season, and Delino DeShields was 1x5 with his 43rd stolen base of the season. Brandon Meredith was 1x4 with an RBI and an outfield assist.

Man of the Match: Justin Gominsky.

From the Office of the County Clerk - G63: Astros @ Giants

Wandy Rodriguez (5-4, 3.27) vs Barry Zito (5-3, 3.24)

Thanks to some good pitching and a JD Martinez Grand Slam, the Astros avoided the sweep and took the final game of the series against the Giants by a 6-3 score. The Astros improve to 27-36 with the win and now head to Texas for a weekend series against the Rangers.

*Wandy Rodriguez picked up a Quality Start in a pretty fair outing, displaying a line of 6.0 IP / 6 H / 3 ER / 2 BB / 3 K. He picked up the win and improves to 6-4 on the year, although his ERA did see a slight bump - up to 3.35. Wright and Rodriguez picked up Holds with a scoreless inning of work each, and Brett Myers picked up Save number 16 with a scoreless 9th. Myers dropped his ERA to a very nice 1.99 with the outing.


*Matt Downs homered in the 2nd inning, his 4th longball of the year.

*JD Martinez's Grand Slam was the Astros third of the season. It was an absolute no doubter and increased the Astros slim 1-0 lead to a much more comfortable 5-0 lead with one swing of the bat.

*The Astros only struck out 4 times. They also walked 4 times, and picked up 8 hits.

*The Astros went a very decent 2 for 6 with runners in scoring position.

*Bixler, Martinez, Maxwell, CJ, Downs and Bogusevic (PH) each had one hit. Altuve had the only multi-hit game with a 2 for 4 night in the leadoff spot. He also walked once and scored a run.

Turning Point:

The JD Martinez Grand Slam was the big blow the Astros needed.

Man of the Match:

JD Martinez. Took advantage of a wild pitcher and made him pay.

Goat of the Game:

Jason Castro went 0 for 4 with 3 strikeouts at the plate.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Everyone just needs to calm down

Sometimes you just need to stand back and applaud a great performance. That's exactly what the Astros - and Astros fans - should be doing this morning. Matt Cain absolutely dominated the Astros in historic fashion, but he's been dominant for a long time, and it doesn't matter who the opponent is.

(For his completely underrated career, teams with a record over .500 have posted a .224/.300/.359 line against Cain (and the Astros still have the highest SLG against Cain among NL teams, amazingly enough). But because the Giants have had offensive struggles, Cain hasn't posted the win totals that would make him a hero on the East Coast.)

Yet, this post isn't about the East Coast bias, or even really about the Giants and Matt Cain. At this point I'm not exactly sure what it's about, but I'm pissed off about something.

Maybe it's Chip Bailey's "Call Oklahoma City!" post. Maybe it's Chris Jones (one of my favorite writers), or Buster Olney (or everybody else who thinks they're funny) saying "Hey, it's the Houston Astros."

Echoing what a lot of people have already said on Twitter, mocking the Astros in reference to last night's happenings disrespects Matt Cain.

This is baseball. These things happen. Getting no-hit happens. Getting Perfect-Gamed happens (though, obviously, not nearly as often). But if these instances were an indictment against a franchise, then the 2011 Astros would have been 0-162 and squeaked out 12 Michael Bourn bunt singles all season long.

So instead of jumping head first into a vat of poison, let's strive for a little consistency here. Don't say "Look how hard this team plays! So fun!" during a four-game win streak, and then when one of the best pitchers in the NL does something historic against the same team a week later call for heads to roll.

The Astros are a young team, on the front end of a rebuilding project. There's no need to diminish what Matt Cain did last night, or through his career. There's also no need to call for the Astros to abandon what the front office has been doing for the past six months, just so you don't get your feelings hurt when Buster Olney pops off on Mike & Mike.

Get a grip on yourselves. Congratulations, Matt Cain.

Lance McCullers update, from Lance McCullers

1-41 Lance McCullers tweeted out an update on his decision:

#Gators & #Astros fans I know you have been tweeting at me about my upcoming decision. I am currently in negotiations & these things take time. I am excited about both roads but have to wait & see what is best for me! Thank you for the support and as always #SIUEFA

No idea what the hashtag means...

Well, this is something.

Looking ahead to the series with the Rangers, Friday night's starter Yu Darvish admits that he's feeling fatigued:

"In the course of a season, there is some fatigue that I was feeling. I don't know I was aware of that. The time off has helped me out a lot."

Perfect Game Link Dump

Let's get this over with:

Hardball Talk's Matthew Pouliot noted that Cain's Game Score was 101. The highest Game Score in a 9-inning game was Kerry Wood's 105 in May 1998 - which was, of course, the 20K one-hitter against Houston.

ESPN's David Schoenfield wonders if Cain threw the best game ever. (As did SB Nation Bay Area)

SI's Cliff Corcoran says Cain's outing was inevitable.

Third base umpire Brian Runge got a little superstitious.

Tim Kawakami:
The Astros didn't just look dominated, they looked demoralized by what Cain was throwing.

Brandon Belt sat in Cain's spot in the dugout, and then got up.

Andrew Baggarly has the inning-by-inning recap of Cain's start.

I see your Matt Cain and lower you J.A. Happ.

PreStros: June 13

Oklahoma City (39-27)

What the hell is happening? OKC only managed two hits in a 3-0 loss at New Orleans. Wes Musick threw well, allowing 3H/1R (0ER), 3K:4BB in 5IP. Aneury Rodriguez allowed 2H/2ER, 0K:2BB in 1.2IP, with Chris Hicks responsible for one of those runs, having allowed 2H in 1.1IP.

Brad Snyder got on base twice, once via hit and once via a walk. Carlos Corporan had your other hit.

Man of the Match: Wes Musick

Corpus (34-30)

Someone turn a fire hose on Drew Locke - he hit a grand slam for the second straight game to lead a 7-run 8th inning on Corpus' way to a 10-6 win over San Antonio. Jake Buchanan threw 7IP, allowing 7H/4ER, 8K:2BB; Kevin Chapman got the W with a perfect IP, and Josh Zeid allowed 2H/2ER (ERA: 7.36) after Chapman was ejected in the 9th.

Chris Wallace was 3x4 with two doubles, 2RBI; Jair Fernandez (2B, BB, RBI), Jordan Kreke (2B, RBI), and Adam Bailey (2B) had two hits each. Jon Singleton was 0x3 with a walk and 3Ks. In the last four games against San Antonio, Singleton was 2x13 with 9Ks.

Man of the Match: Drew Locke

Lancaster (34-33)

An 8th inning homer was what Rancho Cucamonga needed in a 3-2 win over Lancaster. Jorge De Leon allowed 5H/2ER, 4K:1BB in 5.2IP, while Zach Grimmett gets the L with just the one hit (the homer) allowed.

Ben Orloff was 2x4; Erik Castro was 1x4 with 2RBI. Domingo Santana got a hit and a walk.

Man of the Match: ?.

Lexington (37-28)

This game was actually tied 1-1 going into the bottom of the 5th, and then got six in the bottom of the inning, defeating West Virginia 9-2. Mike Foltynewicz improved to 9-1 on the season, with 5H/2ER, 4K:3BB in 6.1IP; Evan Grills allowed just one hit in 2.2IP.

Mike Kvasnicka, Roberto Pena and Justin Gominsky had two hits each. Brandon Meredith was 1x3 with a 3B, 2BB, 2RBI. Chan-Jong Moon was 1x2 with two walks, a 3-run homer and 4RBI total. Delino DeShields was 2x5 with a double and his 42nd stolen base.

Man of the Match: Hard to pick just one, but how about Chan-Jong Moon?

Wates to DL

Austin Wates has been placed on the 7-Day DL with a quadriceps issue, and Drew Muren has been called up to Corpus from Lexington.

Good analysis from Our Buddy Greg Rajan on why they wouldn't call up George Springer or Domingo Santana:
Lancaster is in a first-half pennant race right now, and they wouldn't pull Springer with a week left just to fill in at Double-A.

From the Office of the County Clerk - G62: Astros @ Giants

JA Happ (4-6, 4.54) vs Matt Cain (7-2, 2.41)

History was made in San Francisco tonight, but not for the reasons the Astros would like. Giants starter Matt Cain threw a Perfect Game as the Giants blanked the Astros 10-0. It was only the 22nd Perfect Game in Major League Baseball history. The Astros dropped to 26-36 with the loss.

*JA Happ was not good at all tonight. His line says it all. 3.1 IP / 11 H / 8 ER / 1 BB / 5 K. His season ERA now balloons to 5.33. Cruz also gave up 2 ER in 1.2 innings of work, pushing his season ERA up to 7.40. Cedeno was the only Astros pitcher who escaped unscathed, with 2 innings of work allowing only 2 hits and no runs. Happ drops to 4-7 on the year with the loss.


*I don't normally show the opposing pitchers line, but check out Matt Cain's. 9 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 14 K.

*The Astros have now struck out 27 times in the past 2 games, and drawn only 1 walk in that span.

*The strikeout victims: Altuve (3), Wallace (3), Schafer (2), Lowrie/Martinez/Bogusevic/Snyder/Happ (1). 

*The only Astro who didn't strike out tonight was Chris Johnson.

*How odd is that? The guy that loves to swing and miss goes 0 for 3 without striking out.

*Not much else to see here. The Astros saw 125 pitches on the night and did nothing with them. Hats off to Matt Cain for a spectacular game.

Turning Point:

No real turning point in this game. As it turned out the Giants were a sure thing from the moment Matt Cain took the mound.

Man of the Match:

I know it is supposed to be an Astro here, but how do you not give it to Giants pitcher Matt Cain. Only the 22nd Perfect Game in Major League Baseball history. Congratulations, Matt. Well done.

Goat of the Game:

As good as Matt Cain was...that's how bad JA Happ was.

From the Office of the County Clerk - G61: Astros @ Giants

Bud Norris (5-3, 4.65) vs Madison Bumgarner (7-4, 3.26)

The Astros kicked off their series against the Giants facing a very tough pitcher in Madison Bumgarner, and the game was never really in question as the Giants beat the Astros 6-3, dropping the Astros to 26-35 on the season.

*Bud Norris wasn't having a great outing, but it became much worse when he left in the 4th inning with what is now being called a sprained knee. Prior to leaving he had a line of 3.1 IP / 3 H / 3 ER / 3 BB / 5 K. Carpenter, Lyon and Wright combined to finish off the game. Norris was saddled with the loss in his short outing and drops to 5-4 on the season.


*Bumgarner struck out 12 Astros in his outing tonight. The 'Stros struck out a total of 13 times in the game. The victims and their number of strikeouts: Maxwell (3), Lowrie (3), Castro (2), Altuve/Bixler/Martinez/Johnson/Downs (1 each).

*Brian Bixler had a very nice game in RF, going 2 for 4 with a double and 2 RBI, and a SB.

*The Astros were a decent 2 for 7 with runners in scoring position. It is just getting runners into scoring position that has been the problem.

*The Astros only walked once.

*The 13/1 K/BB ratio is hard to swallow. The team isn't patient and isn't putting the ball in play like they were at the start of the year.

*Castro drove in the only other run of the night for the Astros.

*All 3 Astros runs came with 2 outs.

*The Astros were busy on the basepaths, as CJ, Altuve and Bixler all swiped bags.

Turning Point:

The Giants 2 run 4th was the dagger. 

Man of the Match:

Brian Bixler was a lone shining star on offense.

Goat of the Game:

Justin Maxwell had a rough game at the plate.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

PreStros: June 12

Oklahoma City (39-26)

OKC had a 4-0 lead heading into the bottom of the 3rd, and then New Orleans put up a 5-spot to take it back. But the RedHawks scored two runs in each of the 4th, 5th, and 6th innings for a 10-7 win. Paul Clemens improved to 8-4, but with a 6.31 ERA after allowing 7H/5ER, 2K:3BB, WP in 5IP. Jonnathan Aristil allowed 3H/2ER, 2K:0BB; Mickey Storey struck out three in 1.2IP, and Fernando Abad allowed 2H/0ER, 1K:1BB in 1.1IP for his 2nd save.

Jimmy Paredes was 4x5 with 2RBI; Landon Powell was 3x5 with three runs sored; Mike Hessman was 2x4 with a walk and his 18th homer of the season. J.B. Shuck was 2x5 with a double and 2RBI.

Man of the Match: Jimmy Paredes

Corpus (33-30)

Not a whole lot was happening between Corpus and San Antonio. It was 0-0 going into the bottom of the 7th inning, but then, with the bases loaded, Drew Locke hit a grand slam to bust it open and start the Hooks down the road to a 6-1 win. Brett Oberholtzer threw 7.2IP, 6H/1ER, 8K:0BB; Kevin Chapman faced two batters, allowing a hit and a walk; Jason Stoffel faced three batters and struck out one; and Erick Abreu finished it off with two outs.

Drew Locke had the big fly of the night; but other than that? Jose Martinez was 2x4 with a double and an RBI; Jonathan Villar had a hit, and Jason Stoffel provided an RBI, as well. So yes, the Hooks scored six runs on five hits and three walks.

Man of the Match: Brett Oberholtzer

Lancaster (34-32)

Lancaster and Rancho Cucamonga traded two-run innings in the 5th and 6th, but it was Domingo Santana who did work in the top of the 9th. He led off the inning with a single, advanced to 2nd on Rafael Valenzuela's HBP, stole 3rd, and scored on an attempted pickoff that resulted in an error on the pitcher, giving Lancaster the 3-2 win. Tyson Perez threw 6.2IP, allowing just 4H/2ER, 8K:3BB; Pat Urckfitz, Jose Trinidad, and Andrew Robinson got the final seven outs, allowing 1H/0ER, 2K:2BB.

Santana finished the night 2x4, as did Jonathan Meyer. Ben Heath was 2x3 with an RBI, and Enrique Hernandez provided the other RBI with a double. Telvin Nash was 0x4 with 4Ks - in his last 10 games, he's 7x38 with 4HR and 26 strikeouts.

Man of the Match: Tyson Perez

Lexington (36-28)

So much runs. West Virginia ultimately defeated Lexington 9-7. Nick Tropeano had a rare rough outing, allowing 8H/6R (5ER), 2K:2BB in 4IP; Gabe Garcia allowed 2H/1ER in 3IP; Carlos Quevedo gave up 3H/2ER in 1IP, and Nate Pettus walked two in 1IP (also throwing a wild pitch and balking).

Zach Johnson was 4x5 with a HR/3RBI, Matt Duffy was 3x5, and Delino DeShields was 2x4 with a walk, 2RBI, and his 39th, 40th, & 41st stolen bases of the season. Jesse Wierzbicki hit his first home of the season, as well.

Man of the Match: Zach Johnson.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Lance McCullers comparable signing bonus update

With the 39th overall pick in the 2012 draft, the Rangers selected Joey Gallo, a high school 3B/RHP out of Las Vegas. Via Jim Callis, the Rangers signed him today for $2.25m. Slot for the 39th overall pick is $1.324m.

This could be a roadmap for Lance McCullers as the 41st overall pick.

PreStros: June 11

Oklahoma City (38-26)

OKC took a 3-2 lead into the 9th, and left with a 4-3 loss at New Orleans. Armando Galarraga threw 4.2IP, 2H/0ER, 1K:2BB; Adalberto Flores allowed 3H/2ER, 1K:3BB in 2IP; Juan Abreu walked one batter in 1.1IP, and Jose Valdez got the BS/L with 3H/2ER, 1K:1BB in the 9th.

Carlos Corporan had the only multi-hit game, going 2x3, while Brandon Barnes had 2RBI and Angel Sanchez hit his 4th homer of the season. As a whole, the RedHawks struck out 10 times, and didn't draw a walk.

Man of the Match: Armando Galarraga, I guess.

Corpus (32-30)

The Hooks scored the final four runs of the game in a 5-1 win over San Antonio. Jose Cisnero threw 7IP, 6H/1ER, 6K:0BB, while Josh Zeid threw a perfect 8th inning and Jason Stoffel lowered his ERA to 1.32 with 1H/0ER, 1K:0BB in the 9th.

Jon Singleton was 2x3 with twou doubles and a walk; Jair Fernandez also had two hits on the night, while Jose Martinez hit a 3-run homer in the 6th. Jonathan Villar drew two walks, and Drew Locke was 1x3 with a walk and a stolen base to lower his batting average to .462 since returning to Corpus.

Man of the Match: Jose Cisnero.

Lancaster (33-32)

The JetHawks were down 2-1 heading into the 8th, got three in the top of the inning to take a 4-2 lead, but gave up three in the bottom of the 9th for a 5-4 loss at Rancho Cucamonga. Bobby Doran threw 6IP, allowing 5H/2R (1ER), 3K:3BB; Andrew Robinson struck out three in 2IP; Jason Chowning got the BS/L with 3H/3ER when Kirk Clark allowed two hits and a walk, allowing the game-winning runs to score.

Enrique Hernandez had your only 2-hit game of the night, while George Springer hit his 12th homer of the season, and Domingo Santana had a 2RBI single.

Man of the Match: Bobby Doran

Lexington (36-27)

Lexington jumped out to a 3-0 lead after one inning, and rode it out for a 6-4 win against West Virginia. Jonas Dufek allowed 8H/4ER, 6K:0BB in 7IP, and Murilo Gouvea and Dayan Diaz held WV hitless over the final two innings. Diaz' ERA is now 0.88, having allowed 1H/0ER, with 5K:0BB in his last 6.1IP.

Mike Kvasnicka was 3x4 with a 2-run homer and a double; Delino DeShields was 2x4 with a walk, and Matt Duffy and Drew Muren each had two RBIs.

Man of the Match: Mike Kvasnicka.

Mills will be reevaluated at the end of the season

Luhnow told KHOU's Daniel Gotera that Brad Mills' job will be reevaluated at the end of the season.

"Really towards the end of the season we’re going to take a look at who are the players that are going to be here long term and what can we do to make sure that that happens and take a look at the staff from top to bottom and make sure it aligns with the players that we have on the field."

Read the whole thing for Luhnow's assessment of Mills to this point.

Draft Math Update

Alright, so with the signing bonuses rolling in, let's do some math and figure out how the Astros are doing financially with the new system:

Total Bonus Pool: $11,200,000 to spread over 11 players.
Committed Bonuses: $5,150,000 (Correa, Phillips, Minor)
Other signees, at slot: $889,900 (Rodgers, Aplin, Bircher)
Total bonuses: $6,039,900
Recommended bonuses for unsigned players: $2,754,800

If we add up the total bonuses (again, we're having to guess at Rodgers, Aplin, and Bircher), both committed and recommended, we get $8,919,700 - or $2,280,300 under the allotment. So it's possible that the Astros could bump McCullers' offer up to $2.5m and still have $1,039,000 left to go after the prep unsignables (Ruiz, Virant, Hinojosa, Traver). Also, keep in mind that if the Astros do not sign Ruiz, they lose the $360,200 recommended for his draft position.

10th Rounder Joe Bircher was a senior (as is 7th Rounder Preston Tucker), so it's doubtful they signed right at slot, likely giving more wiggle room to the numbers.

Tuesday morning draft notes

Back after an unexpected absence yesterday, so let's just pretend it didn't happen...

6th Round pick Brett Phillips has signed. His deal includes a $300,000 signing bonus and a clause that the Astros will pay for his college tuition. Phillips will start out at Kissimmee in the GCL, according to his adviser (who also happens to be the son of his head coach):
“The plan is to get Brett into the system and fast track him through the minors."

25th Round pick Ryan Dineen will sign with the Astros. Dineen's now-former head coach Jim Schmitz:
“We feel awful losing him. Losing Ryan as a junior is really putting a big hole in our lineup."

33rd Round pick Mike Hauschild has signed, and will report to Greeneville. Hauschild:
“I didn’t have the year I wanted to at UD, but the Astros took a chance on me, and it took a huge load off my shoulders when I heard I’d get a chance.”

Monday, June 11, 2012

Drayton didn't want to move, either

File this under "News That Was Relevant Eight Months Ago" (also likely "Stuff That We Already Knew"), but I never posted this anywhere back then, and I think it's still at least worth a mention now.

Back in October, before Astros-to-AL and the sale of the team were official, I sent this letter to Drayton McLane, Bud Selig, and Jim Crane. Never heard anything back from Crane or Selig, but about a week later, I received this in the mail from Temple, TX:

If you can't read the text, it says:

"Thank you for being a terrific fan of the Astros. I agree with you, but I probably will not have any say in the decision to move the Astros to the AL West. Obviously, there is an imbalance of 16 teams in the National League, and only 14 in the American League and this is a problem that they have been working to resolve for several years. I hope that they will choose another scenario, but we will just have to see what happens. 
Thanks for your support and we are grateful to have you cheering for the ASTROS!"

Make of that what you will, but credit where credit is due - at least Drayton (or his secretary) took the time to respond.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

From the Office of the County Clerk - G60: Astros @ White Sox

Lucas Harrell (5-4, 4.70) vs Philip Humber (2-3, 5.68)

The Astros jumped out to a commanding 9-3 lead behind 3 longballs this afternoon, tacked on a 4th homerun late in the game, and survived a late charge by the White Sox to hang on for an 11-9 victory and a series win over the White Sox. The Astros improved to 26-34 after 60 games.

*Lucas Harrell was just good enough to win today, thanks to a good offense behind him. His line wasn't spectacular: 7.1 IP / 6 H / 5 ER / 1 BB / 5 K. Wright pitched a scoreless 1/3, while Lopez and Rodriguez gave up 4 runs between them in their 2/3 combined work. Myers got the last 2 outs in the 9th to record his 15th save. He now sports a very nice 2.08 ERA on the year.


*Altuve and Maxwell were the biggest offensive stars today (and my co-Men of the Match below). Altuve went 2 for 5 with a HR, 2 runs and 3 RBI. Maxwell went 2 for 3 with a HR (which was reviewed and upheld), 2 runs, 3 RBI and a walk. 

*Maxwell's homerun was a big one. He fell behind 1-2 and turned it into a very nice at bat which ended in the 2 run homerun, bringing the Astros from trailing to leading with one swing of the bat.

*Brett Wallace and JD Martinez also homered.

*Wallace finished 2 for 4 with 2 runs, an RBI and a walk. His approach has been very nice since he was called up, and his numbers reflect it. In a limited sample size, he is hitting .400/.500/.760.

*Despite JD's homerun, he did still have his struggles at the plate with 2 punch outs.

*The Astros walked 4 times and struck out 13 times. They collected 11 hits, with 4 being homeruns and 2 being doubles.

*Bixler stole 2 bags and Altuve stole 1 as well.

*Stone Hands Chris Johnson managed to collect himself another error.

Turning Point:

The Astros 5 run 6th inning was the difference maker today.

Man of the Match:

Split decision to Maxwell and Altuve. 

Goat of the Game:

Rodriguez had a 6 run lead with only 3 outs left to get, and he couldn't get the job done - giving up 3 runs in only 1/3 of work and forcing Myers to be used in what should have been a sure thing of a finish.

Astros finally complete Quintero/Bourgeois trade

The Astros have wrapped up the Quintero/Bourgeois trade by announcing that the Player To Be Named Later is the Royals' 2011 14th Round pick D'Andre Toney.

In short-season rookie ball in Arizona (which is apparently quite hitter-friendly) last season, Toney hit .340/.432/.587, with 28K:14BB and 22 XBH in 176 plate appearances. He was 7-for-18 on stolen bases.

Royal Review noted:
Hipster prospect guru Kevin Goldstein even labeled Toney as his sleeper prospect for the Royals system, citing his tools, average power potential, and plus speed as notches in Toney's belt. In addition to Goldstein's scouting report Toney is said to have a plus arm. Thanks to Toney's toolshed, I've seen him comped to Mike Cameron and even Ron Gant.

Pine Tar Press listed Toney as the Royals' Most Physical Position Player, and talked to his former head coach at Gulf Coast Community College:
”In my opinion D’Andre was the best player in the conference. He is very strong benching 300 lbs with good raw power that if he can develop his hit tool could become a 15-25 HR centerfielder. On defense Toney gets outstanding reads and jumps on the ball taking the proper path to the ball. His arm currently is a tick below average but could progress into a average tool as he develops.”

23rd Round pick Travis Ballew signs

23rd Round pick Travis Ballew indicated via Twitter that he has signed with the Astros, and will report to Tri-City.

34th Round pick Jankowski to sign

34th Round pick Jordan (or J.J., as we have seen in some places) Jankowski has signed with the Astros, and will report to Greeneville.

In our original post on Jankowski's getting drafted, we noted some controversy from the Salisbury Post in which it seems as though Jankowski asked for his next start to be pushed back a day in order to attend a pre-draft workout. His teammates didn't appreciate that so much, and voted him off the team.

Now we have some back-story.

First, the Astros had drafted Jankowski - coincidentally - in the 34th Round in the 2008 draft following his senior year of high school. He didn't sign (of course). Last year the Astros invited him to a pre-draft workout, which he missed, and went undrafted. The Astros extended the same invitation this year, but the workout coincided with the first game of the post-season for Jankowski's Catawba College.

"I told him I'd pitch as much as he wanted me as soon as I got back. The year before, I missed the workout and didn't get drafted. He told me if I couldn't (start) when I was supposed to that I can't be on the team. I looked at this as my last shot to get drafted. I think if other players were in my shoes, 95 percent would have done the same thing."

Hard to argue...