Saturday, July 7, 2012

From the Office of the County Clerk: G85 - Astros v. Brewers

Zach Greinke (9-2, 3.08) vs Wandy Rodriguez (6-6, 3.54)

Happy recap time! Maybe the Astros caught a break, as Zach Greinke was ejected from the game after only four pitches, but they still deserve credit for taking full advantage of the situation. Wandy put on a show for all the scouts in town, the entire offense came to life, and the Astros win 6-3 to snap their 9-game losing streak. They're now 33-52 and NOT in last place, as the Cubs and Rockies both lost today.

*Magic Wandy pitched strong into the 6th, and he would have finished six scoreless were it not for two fielding errors by Scott Moore in the 6th that allowed two runs to score. Wandy's winning line: 5.1 IP / 4 H / 2 R / 0 ER / 2 BB / 5 K. Then began a patented Brad Mills parade of Astros relievers - Fernando Rodriguez, Wright, Lyon, Abad, and Del Rosario combined for 2.2 IP / 3 H / 1 R / 1 ER / 1 BB / 2 K, with Lyon responsible for the only run. Brett Myers pitched a perfect 9th for his 18th save.


*Jordan Schafer stroked a triple on Greinke's first pitch, the first of 13 Houston hits on the day. Schafer would go 2 for 4 with a steal and 2 runs scored.

*Jose Altuve responded to falling below .300 by going 3 for 4 with a walk, a steal, and a RBI, raising his average back up to .304. It was Altuve's 8th game with 3 or more hits, and his first since June 5.

*J.D. Martinez likewise turned in a 3-hit performance, going 3 for 4 with a run scored. It was J.D.'s fourth 3-hit game of the season.

*Jed Lowrie was 2 for 4 with a double, a RBI, and two runs scored. He's now 5 for 16 (.313) since bottoming out at .253 on July 2.

*Scott Moore's defensive misadventures at 3B in the 6th made us long for the days of "Soft Hands" CJ (not really), but he homered for the second day in a row and the third time in 31 ABs since getting the call from OKC. He's a former first round pick (8th overall) by Detroit in 2002, and he's hitting like it so far in Houston.

*Jason Castro was the only Astros starting position player without a hit, but he still drove in two runs on sacrifice flies, for an odd 0 for 2, 1 K, 2 RBI line.

*Chris Johnson added a double and Brian Bogusevic a single for Houston's other hits.

Turning Point:

After Schafer's leadoff triple, Altuve hit a grounder to the left of first three pitches later. Jose beat Greinke to the bag for an infield single and an RBI, and Greinke spiked the ball in the dirt out of frustration. First-base umpire Sam Holbrook immediately gave Greinke the heave-ho, then tossed Brewers manager Ron Roenicke right behind him after Roenicke came out to argue. Almost-Astro Livan Hernandez came out of the dugout in relief, and Houston responded with three more runs in his three innings for all the offense they would need.

Man of the Match:

Wandy! He was a streak-stopper today, giving the Astros exactly what they needed.

Goat of the Game:

Scott Moore. Home run notwithstanding, he gave up more runs on defense than he created on offense today. But still, happy day! Astros win.

Heyman talks to Luhnow

Hey so Jon Heyman actually talked to Jeff Luhnow about the next moves the Astros can make. In it we find:

*The Astros have received interest in all of Wandy, Myers, and Lyon.
*They'll develop Rasmussen as a starter.
*Other things.

Saturday Morning Link Dump

Here's a handful of Astros things that have come across the timeline this morning...

*If you trust Ken Rosenthal's sources, then Brad Mills' days are numbered, and the number is 78 - as in, 78 games left in Houston's 2012 season.

*Today's Brewers/Astros game will be a showcase for trade deadline shoppers - Greinke v. Wandy - and Jon Morosi says the Blue Jays still have Wandy "high on their list."

*Toronto is not Wandy's only AL East suitor, either, as Roch Kubatko of says that Orioles GM Dan Duquette has been on the phone with Jeff Luhnow about the lefty.

Friday, July 6, 2012

From the Office of the County Clerk: G84 - Astros v. Brewers

Yovani Gallardo (6-6, 3.87) vs J.A. Happ (6-8, 4.81)

It was not a happy homecoming for the Astros. J.A. Happ was victimized by the long ball (and perhaps by being left in the game a bit too long), and Houston's offense sputtered again. It all added up to a 7-1 Milwaukee win, and the Astros' ninth loss in a row. Houston now sits at 32-52 in 2012, and with the Cubs' and Rockies' wins tonight, the Astros fall into last place in the division - and in the majors - for the first time all season.

*Happ had a shaky first inning, but pitched well overall through the first five before dropping off in the 6th and 7th. He surrendered three home runs in a game for the first time since June 14, 2009, ending the night with this line: 6.1 IP / 9 H / 7 R / 7 ER / 1 BB / 4 K. Enerio Del Rosario, fresh up from OKC, gave up a hit in two-thirds of an inning that allowed the runner he inherited from Happ to score. Rhiner Cruz then had a walk and a HBP in two hitless, scoreless innings of mop-up work.


*Only five Houston hits tonight, and only one for extra bases - a titanic HR blast by Scott Moore into the right field mezzanine in the 1st.

*Chris Johnson, the Astros' de facto 1B until the All-Star Break, went 1 for 3 with a walk.

*Jason Castro had a nice night at the plate, at least, going 2 for 3 with a HBP and a K.

*Matt Dominguez recorded his first hit as an Astro with a two-out single in the 9th. He'd end the night 1 for 4 with a K.

*Jose Altuve went 0 for 4 to drop his average to .299, the first time he's been below .300 since April 13. Altuve has slumped to a .200 / .243 / .277 line in 16 games since Matt Cain perfect game'd the Astros on June 13.

Turning Point:

After getting Carlos Gomez to ground out to short leading off the game, Happ was greeted by back-to-back homers from Norichika Aoki and Ryan Braun, putting Houston in a 2-0 hole before recording a second out. The Astros would get one back in the bottom of the inning, and the game stayed close until the sixth, but it was all downhill from there.

Man of the Match:

Jason Castro. He never scored or drove anybody in, but at least he got on base three out of four times, which was more than any other Astro could say.

Goat of the Game:

J.A. Happ. Maybe Brad Mills should have pulled him before he had the chance to surrender three more runs in the 7th, but the four runs he served up on homers before that had already lost Houston the game.

Rasmussen to start Sunday

The Hooks tweeted this morning that Rob Rasmussen will get the start against Tulsa on Sunday, making his Astros org debut, and Jarred Cosart has been placed on the DL with a blister on his throwing hand.

PreStros Farm Report: July 5

PreStros: July 5

Oklahoma City (50-37) 

The RedHawks were blown away by the Zephyrs, losing to New Orleans (MIA) 11-1.

Brian Bass lasted 4 innings, allowing 7 R (4 earned) on 9 H and 3 BB with 1 K. Jonnathan Aristil threw 2 innings and gave up 1 R on 2 H and 1 BB with 2 K. Wilton Lopez pitched 1 inning, giving up 3 R (2 earned) on 2 H. Sergio Perez pitched 1 scoreless inning with 2 K.

1B-Mike Hessman was 1x4 with 1 HR. SS-Marwin Gonzalez was 2x4.

Man of the Match: Mike Hessman

*Notes: Marwin Gonzalez has hit .455/.478/.727 during his rehab stint. OKC pitchers are a full year younger on average than the PCL average.

Corpus Christi (46-37) 

The Hooks jumped out early and coasted to a victory over Northwest Arkansas (KC) 10-2

Bobby Doran threw 5 innings, giving up 1 R on 7 H and 1 BB with 3 K. Alex Sogard went 3 innings, allowing 1 unearned run and 3 H. Henry Villar took the ninth, allowing 1 H.

SS-Jonathan Villar was 1x5 with 1 BB, 1 HR, 2 R, and 3 RBI. 3B-Andy Simunic was 3x4 with 1 BB and 3 R. RF-Drew Locke went 4x5 with 2 2B, 2 R, and 1 RBI. DH-Jon Singleton was 2x4 with 1 BB, 1 2B, 1 3B, and 2 RBI. C-Jair Fernandez was 2x5 with 1 HR and 2 RBI.

Man of the Match: Drew Locke

*Notes: Corpus tied a team record with 18 wins in June. Jose Martinez has missed the last four games with a sore knee. Newly acquired Rob Rasmussen is scheduled to start Sunday against Tulsa.

Lancaster (42-43) 

The JetHawks fell back below .500 after losing to Visalia (ARI) 8-7.

Zach Grimmett threw 5 innings and gave up 7 R on 10 H and 3 BB with 3 K. Brian Streilein went the other 4 innings, allowing 1 R on 2 H with 2 K.

RF-Grant Hogue was 1x5 with 1 BB, 1 R, and 3 SB, including a steal of home. CF-George Springer was 2x4 with 1 BB, 1 SB, 1 2B, and 1 RBI with 1 outfield assist. SS-Ben Orloff went 1x1 with 4 BB, 1 SB and 2 R. PH-Domingo Santana was 1x1 with 2 RBI.

Man of the Match: Ben Orloff

*Notes: George Springer has a 13 game hitting streak. Grant Hogue has nine steals in five games batting leadoff.

Lexington (43-41) 

The Legends lost a back-and-forth game to Hagerstown (WAS) 10-8.

Mike Foltynewicz threw 5 innings and gave up 5 R (4 earned) on 7 H and 5 BB with 2 K. Gabriel Garcia pitched 3 innings, allowing 5 R (4 earned) on 4 H and 1 BB.

2B-Delino DeShields was 2x5 with 1 BB, 2 SB, 2 R, and 1 RBI. DH-Nolan Fontana went 1x1 with 5 BB, 1 SB, 1 R, and 1 RBI. 1B-Zach Johnson was 1x5 with 1 2B and 3 RBI. LF-Brandon Meredith was 1x3 with 2 BB, 1 HR, and 2 RBI. CF-Justin Gominsky was 2x4 with 1 SB and 2 R.

Man of the Match: Nolan Fontana

*Notes: Delino DeShields is hitting .322 since the beginning of June with 28 steals in 29 games. With runners in scoring position this season, he’s hitting .373/.473/.533. He’s on pace for 99 steals this year.

Tri-City (13-5) 

The ValleyCats couldn’t scratch out much offense, losing 2-1 to State College (PIT).

Brady Rodgers threw 4.1 innings, allowing 2 R (1 earned) on 5 H and 3 BB with 6 K. Travis Ballew threw 3.2 innings, giving up 1 H and 1 BB with 3 K. Kenny Long pitched 1 inning with 1 BB and 2 K.

2B-Austin Elkins was 3x4. LF-Jarrod McKinney was 1x2 with 1 2B and 1 R.

Man of the Match: Austin Elkins

*Notes: The ValleyCats have scored the second-most runs in the league, while allowing the second-fewest.

Greeneville (9-6) 


*Notes: Jean Batista is hitting .355 with just six strikeouts in 63 plate appearances.

GCL Astros (7-9) 

The Astros played one and a half games yesterday, but lost both to the Cardinals.

In the completion of a game suspended July 4th, the Astros lost to the Cardinals 7-4.

Reymin Guduan threw 1.2 scoreless innings with 3 K. Jandel Gustave threw 3.1 innings with 1 R. Rodney Quntero allowed 5 R in .1 innings. Ambiorix De Leon gave up 1 R in 1.2 innings.

3B-Darwin Rivera was 2x3 with 1 BB and 1 2B. CF/RF-Teoscar Hernandez was 2x3 with 1 BB and 1 RBI. LF-Wallace Gonzalez was 2x3 with 2 RBI.

Man of the Match: Wallace Gonzalez

In the second game, shortened to six innings, the Astros again lost to the Cardinals 9-6.

Enderson Franco threw 4 innings, allowing 7 R (5 earned) with 5 K. Ricardo Batista went 2 innings and gave up 2 R.

CF-Brett Phillips was 2x4 with 1 2B and 1 R. 3B-Raul Rivera was 2x4 with 1 2B, 2 R, and 1 RBI. 1B-Yonathan Mejia was 2x4 with 1 R and 2 RBI. LF-Ydarqui Marte went 1x3 with 1 HR.

Man of the Match: Raul Rivera

*Notes: Chia-Jen Lo is now 0-1 despite having a 0.00 ERA.

DSL Astros (10-18) 

The Astros lost to the Mariners 5-2 in 13 innings.

Samil De Los Santos went 6 innings, allowing 1 unearned run on 6 H and 1 BB with 9 K. Rayderson Chevalier threw 3 innings and gave up 1 R on 3 H and 1 BB with 2 K. Javier Saucedo pitched 3.2 innings, giving up 3 unearned runs on 2 H and 3 BB with 6 K. Frangy Colon got the final out.

CF-Jarico Reynoso was 2x5 with 1 BB, 1 SB, 1 R, and 1 RBI. LF/RF-Brauly Mejia went 2x5.

Man of the Match: Samil De Los Santos


I'm as sick of kicking a dead Caballo than anybody else, but yesterday morning Brian McTaggart tweeted something that caught my eye:

Carlos Lee was never the same after he broke his finger. It changed the way he gripped the bat.

Lee broke his finger in the 3rd inning of the August 9, 2008 game against the Reds, with Bronson Arroyo pitching. To that plate appearance, Lee was having a great year - .314/.368/.569, for a .937 OPS, all of which just happened to be career-highs. He had 28 homers to go with 27 doubles, for a 40.1% XBH/H rate. Lance Berkman hit a team-high 29 homers in 2008, one ahead of Lee, despite 174 more plate appearances.

So it's safe to say that Bronson Arroyo and his dumb garage band derailed Lee's season, for sure. But was Lee "never the same" after the broken finger? LET'S LOOK.

Let's just ignore Lee's 1999 season, where he played in 127 games after making his MLB debut on May 9, 1999. His career stats, 2000-2008 are as follows:

.290/.347/.508. 119 OPS+. A homer in every 21.5 plate appearances. An extra-base hit in every 9.8 plate appearances.

After that? .276/.327/.446. 109 OPS+. A homer in every 30.8 plate appearances. An extra-base hit in every 11.3 plate appearances. So the numbers seem to bear out.


Lee played 160 games in 2009, having recovered from the broken finger. How did he perform?

.300/.343/.489. 119 OPS+. Homer in every 25.5 plate appearances. Extra-base hit in every 10.7 plate appearances.

So yeah, there was a drop-off in production from 2008 to 2009 - but it's not as though he "wasn't the same" after that. His 2009 OPS (.831) was just 24 points off his OPS from 2000-2008, 16 points off his OPS from 2000-2007 - while his OPS+ was exactly the same in 2009 as it was from 2000-2008.

Where Carlos Lee was "never the same" was 2010-2012. In those two and a half seasons, Lee hit .266/.320/.428. 104 OPS+. Homer every 33.7 plate appearances, extra-base hit every 11.6 plate appearances. He was also 34-36 years old.

Perhaps Lee's grip on the bat changed - that's something McTaggart would know better than I. However, he seemed to be okay in 2009. It looks as though "Old" could have been more to blame for Carlos Lee's drop-off than an errant Arroyo throw.

Extended look at Dominguez and Rasmussen

The Marlins blog Fish Stripes has an extremely worthwhile extended look at Matt Dominguez and Rob Rasmussen.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

From the Office of the County Clerk: G83 - Astros @ Pirates

Bud Norris (5-5, 4.90) vs Jeff Karstens (1-2, 5.25)

The Astros can't get off the road quickly enough. One day they'll put it all together again, but another great pitching performance was wasted tonight as Houston began the post-Caballo era with their eighth consecutive loss, 2-0. The Astros go 0-7 on their latest roadie, including three shutouts, and they fall to 32-51 on the season (23-19 home, 9-32 road).

*Bud Norris was finally back to form tonight, turning in his first quality start since May 21, with 5 other starts and a DL stint in between. Bud's line: 7 IP / 5 H / 2 R / 2 ER / 3 BB / 6 K. Brett Myers made his first appearance since June 28 and threw a perfect 8th on just eight pitches. Looking at tonight's matchup, you expected this one to be advantage Houston, but Pittsburgh's weakest starter turned in their best pitching performance, handing Bud his fifth consecutive loss.


*Sadly little to report on offense again - 4 singles, 3 walks, 2 double plays, no runs, and only one Houston runner reached third base (with two outs in the 9th).

*Each of the Astros' top three batters had a hit tonight: Altuve (1 for 4, SB), Lowrie (1 for 3, BB), and Scott Moore (1 for 4, K).

*Chris Synder had Houston's other hit, going 1 for 2 with a walk.

*Matt Dominguez was 0 for 2 with a K and a GIDP in his Astros debut.

*Dominguez got the start at 3B, so Chris Johnson was your new Houston 1B, at least for tonight. CJ went 0 for 4 with a K.

Turning Point:

Sad that it happened so early, but back-to-back doubles by Casey McGehee and Garrett Jones leading off the 2nd plated the Pirates' first run. Houston never truly threatened on offense tonight, so that would be the game winner.

Man of the Match:

Bud Norris. His last five starts weren't pretty (0-4, 9.55), but he deserved the win tonight.

Goat of the Game:

Once again - the entire Astros offense. #FreeBrettWallace

PreStros Farm Report: July 4

PreStros: July 4

Oklahoma City (50-36) 

OKC held on during a three run ninth by the Zephyrs to beat New Orleans (MIA) 10-9.

Paul Clemens threw 4.1 innings and allowed 4 R on 8 H and 1 BB with 4 K. Juan Abreu went 1.2 innings, allowing 1 unearned run with 2 H and 2 K. Adalberto Flores gave up 1 H in 1 inning. Enerio Del Rosario pitched 1 inning, giving up 1 R on 2 H and 1 BB. Hector Ambriz threw the final inning and allowed 3 R on 3 H and 1 BB.

SS-Marwin Gonzalez was 3x5 with 3 2B and 3 RBI. 2B-Jimmy Paredes was 2x5 with 1 HR and 2 R. LF-Fernando Martinez went 2x5 with 1 R and 1 RBI. C-Landon Powell was 3x4 with 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 R, and 3 RBI.

Man of the Match: Landon Powell

*Notes: Brett Wallace is hitting .514 over his last 10 games. Since his demotion he’s hit .407. The RedHawks are one of just three teams in the minors to have over 100 home runs this season.

Corpus Christi (45-37) 

Jair Fernandez came up big with a three run homer to give Corpus a 4-3 win over Tulsa (COL).

Jose Cisnero threw 6 innings and gave up 3 R on 6 H and 3 BB with 8 K. Josh Zeid pitched 2 scoreless innings with 2 K. Jason Stoffel got the save with 1 inning, allowing 2 H with 1 K.

1B-Jon Singleton was 2x4 with 1 2B. C-Jair Fernandez was 1x3 with 1 HR and 3 RBI.

Man of the Match: Jair Fernandez

*Notes: Corpus tied a team record with 18 wins in June. Jose Martinez has missed the last four games with a sore knee. Newly acquired Rob Rasmussen will join the Hooks.

Lancaster (42-42) 

The JetHawks couldn’t muster an attack on Visalia (ARI) as they lost 5-2.

David Martinez threw 6 innings, giving up 4 R on 7 H and 1 BB with 5 K. Pat Urckfitz pitched 3 innings and allowed 1 R on 3 H with 2 K.

LF-Grant Hogue was 1x3 with 1 BB, 2 SB, and 1 R. DH-Chris Epps was 1x4 with 1 3B and 1 R.

Man of the Match: Grant Hogue

*Notes: Telvin Nash has either homered, struck out, or walked in nearly 71% of his plate appearances this season. He is currently day-to-day after taking an arrow to the knee a foul ball to the nose. George Springer has a 12 game hitting streak.

Lexington (43-40) 

The Legends lost another tough pitcher’s duel, this time to Hagerstown (WAS) 3-2.

Carlos Quevedo got the start and went 4.2 scoreless innings, allowing 4 H with 3 K. Evan Grills threw 2.1 innings, giving up 2 R on 6 H and 1 BB with 1 K. Murilo Gouvea took the final inning and gave up 1 R on 1 H and 1 BB.

2B-Ruben Sosa was 1x3 with 1 BB. LF-Brandon Meredith was 1x4 with 1 HR. RF-Justin Gominsky went 1x3 with 1 BB, 1 R, and 1 outfield assist on a play at the plate.

Man of the Match: Carlos Quevedo

*Notes: Nolan Fontana was assigned to Lexington. Luis Alvarez was sent to Greeneville.

Tri-City (13-4) 

The ValleyCats lost for the first time in 12 games, falling 7-2 to State College (PIT).

Joe Bircher lasted just 3.2 innings before being ejected after hitting a batter, allowing 3 R on 10 H with 2 K. John Neely went the next 3.1 innings and gave up 2 R (1 earned) on 2 H and 1 BB with 1 K. Brad Propst threw 2 innings and gave up 2 unearned runs and 3 H with 4 K.

2B-Austin Elkins was 1x4 with 1 HR and 2 R. RF-Emilio King was 1x3 with 1 BB and 1 outfield assist on a play at home.

Man of the Match: Austin Elkins

*Notes: The ValleyCats lead the league in runs scored (94) and steals (28).

Greeneville (9-6) 

The Astros lost a tough one 6-4 in 12 innings to Johnson City (STL)

Daniel Minor threw 5 innings and gave up 3 R on 3 H and 1 BB with 4 K. Jordan Jankowski pitched 2 innings, allowing 1 R on 1 H with 3 K. Michael Dimock went 2 scoreless innings with 1 BB and 2 K. Scott Zuloaga got one out with 1 K. Euris Quezada threw 1.2 innings and gave up 2 unearned runs with 3 H and 3 K.

CF-D’Andre Toney was 3x6 with 1 R and 2 RBI. RF-Ariel Ovando was 2x5 with 1 R. 3B-Angel Ibanez went 2x5 with 1 2B, 1 R, and 1 RBI.

Man of the Match: D’Andre Toney

*Notes: Andrew Walter was assigned to Greeneville from the Gulf Coast League.

GCL Astros (7-7) 

Despite having equal the number of hits, the Astros lost 6-1 to the Cardinals.

Chia-Jen Lo threw 2 innings and gave up 2 unearned runs with 1 H and 4 K. Raul Rivera pitched 2 scoreless innings with 1 H and 2 K. Jose Montero went 1.1 innings, allowing 2 R (1 earned) on 2 H and 2 BB with 2 K. Juan Mojica pitched the final 1.2 innings, giving up 2 R on 3 H and 1 BB with 3 K.

3B/1B-Darwin Rivera was 2x3. 2B-Juan Santana was 1x3 with 1 2B and 1 RBI.

Man of the Match: Raul Rivera

*Notes: Chia-Jen Lo is now 0-1 despite having a 0.00 ERA.

DSL Astros (10-17) 

The Astros beat the A’s 4-1.

Johan Arias went 5 innings, allowing 1 R on 5 H and 3 BB with 4 K. Yonquelys Martinez threw 3 scoreless innings with 3 H. Victor Mesa pitched 1 inning with 1 BB.

CF-Jarico Reynoso was 2x4. PH/DH-Johan Tomas De La Cruz was 1x1 with 1 HR and 2 RBI. LF-Frederick Serrano went 1x3 with 1 BB and 1 HR. SS-Arturo Michelena was 2x2 with 1 BB, 1 R, and 1 RBI.

Man of the Match: Arturo Michelena

Carlos and Ozzie didn't exactly part on peaceful terms

Chances are, you play for Ozzie Guillen, and he's going to hate you at some point. That's sort of what happened with Carlos Lee and the White Sox in 2004, as FanGraphs' Chris Cwik reminds us...

Guillen was critical of Lee’s non-aggressive playing style when he was Lee’s manager with the Chicago White Sox. In a game against the Minnesota Twins, Torii Hunter collided with White Sox catcher Jamie Burke, who had to leave the game with a concussion. Lee had an opportunity to take out the Twins second baseman on a slide late in the game, and did not. After Lee was traded to Milwaukee the following off-season, Guillen cited that moment as one of the reasons for the deal.

Baseball America's Top 50 Mid-season Prospects

Baseball America released their Top 50 prospect list, and hey, it's relevant to us again!

Jonathan Singleton: #23
George Springer: #45

Just for future reference, the following AL West teams have some prospects on the list, as well:

Rangers: Jurickson Profar (#2), Mike Olt (#11), Cody Buckel (#41)
Seattle: Taijuan Walker (#4), Danny Hultzen (#5), #35 (Nick Franklin), James Paxton (#42)
Angels: Jean Segura (#43)

Schafer pulled, Keuchel sent down

Lost in the shuffle of the best Independence Day since 1776 were a couple of interesting situations that developed with the team...

Jordan Schafer was pulled for a bonehead play (video in that link) that cost the Astros a run, and Mills got pissed:
"I just felt that play and behavior didn't match what we needed to get done and what everybody was doing. We came out of the gate busting our tails, guys were going first to third, first to third, and putting ourselves in position to score a lot of runs. His behavior didn't match what we needed to have done."

Schafer agreed, and when asked if there would be a problem going forward, responded:
"I need to go out and play hard and whatever happens, happens."

Okay, now, that's an interesting response. You could make a strong argument that Schafer's play and behavior hasn't matched what the Astros have needed to get done (though, lately, it's about on the level of what everyone else is doing). Personally, it'd be alright with me if Schafer was invited to check out what Oklahoma City was all about.

Since June 1, Schafer is "hitting" .184/.292/.250 with 28K in 89 PAs, and all that with a .271 BABIP - low, but not .184 low.


Also Dallas Keuchel was optioned to Oklahoma City in an effort to (according to Zachary Levine), help out the bullpen:
Keuchel must stay down in the minor leagues at least 10 days. But since the All-Star break comes within those 10 days, even if he is needed for the rotation, he could return without missing a start.

Still, that didn't sit well with Corpus SP Jarred Cosart, who tweeted:
Congrats Carlos lee on your new home. Keuchel to triple a? Is that serious, and then, Promotion and demotions must not be based on performance at all times. Keep doing work dallas

In response to another tweet, Cosart continued:
haha thanks for your concern. They could've sent two other deserving candidates down instead of Keuchel

Check out Cosart's timeline, it's, uh, interesting.

Carlos Lee links

Today is the first day of the rest of our lives...

Marlins GM Michael Hill first made contact with Jeff Luhnow in May:
"We watched the club play and offense was a concern. We started to research different possibilities, different bats that might be available. … We felt like it was a good time to infuse a veteran, professional, experienced bat into the lineup."

Jeff Luhnow:
"Carlos Lee will help the Marlins. The Marlins are very invested in trying to win quickly and Lee can fit into that equation, and I think that's why they were interested in him. We have a different outlook. We're looking towards the future and we were able to get two players we believe will be a part of our future, and that was too good to pass up."
(Click the McTaggart link to read more about why the L.A. trade didn't happen.)

Jerome Solomon:
Take my word for it, rookie owner Jim Crane was more upset at having to take on Lee’s contract when he bought the team than he was about being bullied by Major League Baseball to move to the American League. At least MLB paid him $50 million to take the abuse. Lee was an $18.5 million albatross on the books.

Kevin Goldstein takes a quick look at Dominguez/Rasmussen at Baseball Prospectus.

Keith Law tweeted (in response to a question) that Dominguez and Rasmussen were a "defensive replacement and reliever."

Just in case you had wondered what the trade means for the Cubs (?)...

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Ok great, but traded for WHO?

Right about the time word got out that "Carlos Lee has been tra..." the twittersphere erupted with excitement, glad that the embodiment of all that's gone wrong in Houston is finally gone.  That's great and all, and Im'a let you finish, but let's look at who the Astros are getting in return.

Matt Dominguez - AAA Third Baseman

Dominguez was the Marlins' 1st round pick in 2007, drafted as a shortstop out of Chatsworth High School in Chatsworth, CA. His move to third wasn't so much related to his fielding, as he profiles as a plus defender, as it was the presence of Hanley Ramirez. His first full season in the minors he put up good numbers, especially for an 18 year old, including 18 home runs and an .853 OPS for Greensboro in the Sally League.  Since then, his performance has been consistent, with an OPS in the mid to low .700s and double digit home runs, while continuing to be at least a year younger than his competition. This year he's hitting .234/.291/.357 for AAA New Orleans, though he may still be recovering from a bout with mono last season. He has consistently displayed average to slightly-above-average walk rates while improving his strikeout rates as he's moved up. Dominguez came into the season ranked 74th on's top 100 prospect list, 2nd on the Marlins' prospect ranking, and 8th on their top ten third base prospect list. The only named comp I've seen for him is Pedro Feliz, but with a better walk rate. Before that scares too many Astros fans, remember that Feliz was an above average third baseman for several years with the Giants and Phillies.

I've never seen him play, so that's about what I can glean from his numbers. What do those who have seen him and are smarter than me say?

Wherever he plays, though, Dominguez is a quality bat, though not a great one, and he has the potential to be a solid MLB contributor and premium defender. -

"He's a complete player, other than not running. He's a baseball player who's very far along. He's been in the baseball eye for a long time. There's no question his bat was underrated. He does everything well and he's just a real smart player. He understands the game well." -- Jim Fleming, Marlins VP of Player Development and Scouting (2009)

Upside potential: All-Star-caliber third baseman who is a run-producer and Gold Glover; a Scott Rolen type. - MLB Top 50 from 2009

His glove is ready for the big leagues now, but it remains to be seen if he's ready to hit Major League pitching full time. - MLB 2012 Prospect Watch

 Rob Rasmussen - High A Starting Pitcher

Rasmussen was the Marlins' 2nd round pick in 2010 out of UCLA. His first full season was at A+ Jupiter in the Florida State League, where he put up a 3.64 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 4.3 BB/9. This season he's putting up similar numbers at the same level, though he has reduced his walk rate some. He doesn't show a big platoon split, so the usual fallback as a lefty specialist doesn't really make sense here. The biggest key for Rasmussen is his control. MLB named Rasmussen the Marlins' #9 prospect coming into 2012.

What do the smart people say?

He has a good combination of stuff and pitchability, with perhaps command being the only thing standing in his way from consistent success. - MLB 2012 Prospect Watch

Rasmussen is undersized at 5-9, 160, but he has good arm strength and works in the low-90s, mixing in a curve, slider, and changeup. - Minor League Ball

Extremely competitive and intelligent pitcher, up-tempo bulldog. Has the intangibles to pitch above his physical grades at the major league level. - Baseball Prospect Report

He will probably be given at least an opportunity at longer work in pro ball first, but he's an obvious lights-out reliever in the making already. -


This could make me ignore the burn ban and set off fireworks tonight...

4:59pm - Rosenthal: Source: #Marlins were not on Lee's limited no-trade list. In other words, his approval was NOT needed for the trade.

4:55pm - Rodriguez: Astros will pay remainder of Lee's salary, minus pro-rated league minimum.

4:52pm - Rodriguez: Now Matt Dominguez scratched from New Orleans lineup, but still not told of trade. Zephyrs playing #Astros Triple-A OKC affiliate today.

4:43pm - Rodriguez: Rasmussen has been scratched from Double-A start, but still not informed of trade

4:35pm - Juan Rodriguez (Sun-Sentinel Marlins Beat Writer) : Rasmussen slated to make Double-A debut tonight. As of 5 minutes ago, hadn't been scratched.

4:18pm - Levine: Lowrie was removed from the game for baseball reasons, not as part of a trade.

Matt Dominguez is a 22-year old, 6'1" 215lb righty 3B, the 1st Round pick of the Marlins (12th overall) in 2007. He had been hitting .234/.291/.357 in 78 games for Triple-A New Orleans.

Rasmussen is a 23-year old 5'9" 165lb LHP. He was the 2nd Round pick in the 2010 draft by the Marlins. In High-A Jupiter this season, he is 4-7 with a 3.90 ERA / 1.36 WHIP, with 75K:36BB in 87.2IP.

4:13pm - Olney: Sources: The Marlins are trading Matt Dominguez and P Rob Rasmussen for Carlos Lee.

4:12pm - Lee's locker has been cleaned out and he is gone

4:11pm - Levine: Carlos Lee's locker is empty

4:05pm - Levine: Astros clubhouse has been closed for 20 minutes following today's loss to the Pirates.

4:01pm - ESPN: The Astros and Marlins are "deep" into talks in a trade that would send Carlos Lee to Miami, a team to which he has indicated a willingness to accept a trade.

3:53pm - Olney: Am told that the Lee deal is not completely done, but there has been a whole lot of progress. As much as HOU wants to move Lee,seems likely.

3:08pm - Levine: Lee and Lowrie have been pulled from the game.

From the Office of the County Clerk: G82 - Astros @ Pirates

Dallas Keuchel (1-0, 1.35) vs Kevin Correia (4-6, 4.32)

Happy Fourth, Astros fans. Houston begins the second half of the 162-game schedule the same way they ended the first, and far too many games over the last year and a half - with a loss. Pirates win 6-4, and Houston has now lost seven in a row overall and nine in a row on the road.

*Dallas Keuchel wasn't awful, and was partly the victim of some questionable defensive decisions by Houston in the 2nd. But he showed that he was human today, picking up his first big league loss, with this line: 5.2 IP / 7 H / 4 R / 4 ER / 4 BB / 2 K. The Fernandos - Rodriguez and Abad - combined for two scoreless innings, but David Carpenter WAS awful today, allowing two hits and two runs while recording only one out.


*Scott Moore continues to hit well since getting the call from OKC, going 2 for 4 with a run scored.

*J.D. Martinez (2 for 4, HR) and Brian Bogusevic (2 for 3, BB, 1 RBI) also had multi-hit games for the Astros.

*Brian Bixler, Jose Altuve, and Carlos Lee had Houston's other hits...

*...but you're not reading this, as this could have been Lee's final game as an Astro.

Turning Point:

Houston staked Kid Keuchy to an early 2-0 lead, but heads-up baserunning by Pittsburgh and questionable defensive choices by Houston put the Astros in a 3-2 hole that they'd never climb out of.

Man of the Match:

Brian Bogusevic.

Goat of the Game:

David Carpenter. Wrapping this up fast to make room for the Lee chatter...

PreStros Farm Report: July 3

PreStros: July 3

Oklahoma City (49-36) 

OKC beat Memphis (STL) 11-10 in ten innings.

Aneury Rodriguez threw 4.1 innings, giving up 7 R on 10 H and 1 BB with 2 K. Sergio Perez got one out while allowing 4 BB and 1 R. Adalberto Flores threw 1.1 scoreless with 1 H. Hector Ambriz went 1 scoreless with 3 H. Xavier Cedeno pitched 2 innings and gave up 1 R on 3 H and 1 BB with 2 K. Mickey Storey took the final inning and allowed 1 R on 2 H and 2 BB with 2 K.

2B-Jimmy Paredes was 3x5 with 1 SB, 1 2B, 1 3B and 2 R. RF-Fernando Martinez was 1x5 with 1 BB, 1 SB, 1 HR, 2 R, and 2 RBI. 1B-Mike Hessman went 1x5 with 1 HR and 3 RBI. 3B-Brett Wallace was 3x3 with 2 BB, 2 R, and 1 RBI.

Man of the Match: Brett Wallace

*Notes: The RedHawks have a 1.5 game lead in the American-South Division.

Corpus Christi (44-37) 

The Hooks mustered just four base runners as they lost 5-1 to Tulsa (COL).

Jarred Cosart battled blister problems while throwing 4.2 innings and giving up 4 R on 8 H with 5 K. Erick Abreu pitched 3.1 perfect innings with 5 K. Arcenio Leon took the final inning, allowing 1 R on 1 H with 2 K.

SS-Jonathan Villar was 1x4 with 1 RBI. C-Jair Fernandez was 1x3 with 1 2B and 1 R.

Man of the Match: Erick Abreu

*Notes: Corpus tied a team record with 18 wins in June. Jose Martinez has missed the last three games with a sore knee.

Lancaster (42-41) 

After rallying to tie the game in the ninth, Lancaster lost 7-6 in 11 innings to Modesto (COL).

Jorge De Leon went 6 innings, giving up 5 R on 4 H and 2 BB with 3 K. Brad Dydalewicz threw 2 innings and allowed 1 R on 1 H and 1 BB with 3 K. Kirk Clark took the loss in 2.1 innings, allowing 1 R on 1 H and 2 BB with 3 K.

LF-Grant Hogue was 2x4 with 1 BB, 1 SB, and 3 R. CF-George Springer was 2x4 with 1 BB, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 R, and 2 RBI. DH-Erik Castro went 3x6 with 2 BB and 2 RBI.

Man of the Match: George Springer

*Notes: Telvin Nash has either homered, struck out, or walked in nearly 71% of his plate appearances this season. George Springer has an 11 game hitting streak.

Lexington (43-39) 

The Legends lost a tough pitcher’s duel to Asheville (COL) 2-1.

Jonas Dufek threw 1 scoreless inning with 1 H and 1 K. Tommy Shirley pitched 4 innings, giving up 2 R (1 earned) on 1 H and 3 BB with 6 K. Mitchell Lambson threw 4 scoreless innings, allowing just 1 H with 7 K.

2B-Delino DeShields was 0x3 with 1 BB and 1 SB. 3B-Matt Duffy went 2x4 with 1 2B.

Man of the Match: Mitchell Lambson

*Notes: Jay Austin was placed on the 7-day DL on July 2, retroactive to June 30.

Tri-City (13-3) 

The ValleyCats won their eleventh straight by beating Lowell (BOS) 7-2 with a dramatic seven run ninth inning rally.

Juri Perez pitched 7 scoreless innings, allowing 5 H and 2 K with 6 K. Juan Minaya gave up 2 R on 2 H and 1 BB without getting an out. Jamaine Cotton threw 2 innings, giving up 2 BB.

2B-Austin Elkins was 1x4 with 2 SB and 1 R. CF-Andrew Aplin was 1x4 with 2 SB, 1 R, and 1 RBI. 3B-Ryan Dineen went 2x4 with 1 R and 2 RBI.

Man of the Match: Juri Perez

*Notes: The ValleyCats have opened up a four game lead in the Stedler Division. They lead the league in runs scored (92), runs batted in (79), and steals (28).

Greeneville (9-5) 


*Notes: Andrew Walter was assigned to Greeneville from the Gulf Coast League.

GCL Astros (7-6) 

The Astros used three pitchers to shutout the Marlins 4-0.

Edison Frias went 5 innings, giving up 2 H and 2 BB with 4 K. Alan Abreu took the next 3 innings with 2 H and 1 K. Erick Gonzalez finished out the game with 1 inning and 1 H.

CF-Brett Phillips was 1x2 with 3 BB, 1 SB, 2 R, and 1 RBI. 3B-Darwin Rivera went 3x5 with 1 RBI. 1B-Yonathan Mejia was 2x4 with 1 BB and 1 RBI. DH-Ydarqui Marte was 2x3.

Man of the Match: Frias/Abreu/Gonzalez

*Notes: The average age for the GCL Astros position players is almost a full year younger than the league average.

DSL Astros (9-17) 

The Astros were shutout 4-0 by the A’s.

Edwin Villarroel threw 5 innings, allowing 3 R (1 earned) on 3 H and 2 BB. Luis Abad went 2 innings, giving up 1 R on 2 BB with 1 K. Rauldison Rodriguez took the final inning with 1 K.

CF-Jarico Reynoso was 2x4. 3B-Randy Cesar went 2x4.

Man of the Match: Reynoso/Cesar

Rosenthal talks Astros

Ken Rosenthal had a few Astros notes this morning:

While the Cardinals ponder their next move after they now know Chris Carpenter needs season-ending surgery, Rosenthal thinks perhaps Wandy or Myers make logical trade partners.

The Astros were willing to include "significant cash" to get Lee to LA and get Garrett Gould in return, but Carlos Lee balked at California's state income tax rate, and that was a reason he didn't love the idea of going to the Dodgers. Had Lee at least acted like he wanted to play in LA, the Dodgers apparently would have helped bridge the gap.

California's state income tax, for people who make over $1m, is 10.3% - and that's in addition to the 35% that the federal government would take. So Lee didn't want to go for what would be about $910,000.

Jed Lowrie, Rosenthal also notes, is essentially unavailable.

From the Office of the County Clerk: G81 - Astros @ Pirates

Lucas Harrell (7-6, 4.33) vs A.J. Burnett (9-2, 3.31)

Bloody 'ell. Here's the good news: at least Houston didn't have Roy Oswalt's night in Chicago. The bad news: Remember Drew Sutton? Mr. PTBNL-traded-for-Jeff-Keppinger back in 2009? The Astros couldn't hold leads of 4-0 and 6-2, and 9th inning heroics by Jason Castro were wasted when Sutton stroked a walk-off homer to dead center, sending Houston to a heartbreaking 8-7 defeat. The Astros officially close the first half of 2012 with six straight losses and a 32-49 record.

*It started out so promising... Lucas Harrell tied a career high with 9 K, through only 3.2 innings. But all those strikeouts ran up his pitch count to 90 after 5, and pitches 91-100 in the 6th resulted in three straight singles and three Pirate runs, betraying how well he pitched up to that point. Harrell's final line: 5 IP / 9 H / 5 R / 5 ER / 0 BB / 9 K. He was still in line for the win at that point, but Brandon Lyon gave up a two-run homer to Garrett Jones, then Wesley Wright surrendered the walk-off to Sutton. Fernando Rodriguez looks like he escaped unscathed, with one scoreless inning, but that doesn't tell the whole story - he inherited two runners from Harrell, and allowed both to score following a wild pitch and a single.


*The offense actually did a great job tonight, with 13 hits their highest total since they also had 13 in a 9-8 victory over St. Louis on June 5.

*Houston had six doubles - two for Carlos Lee, and one apiece for Scott Moore, Jose Altuve, Chris Synder, and Jason Castro.

*Four Astros had two hits each - Jordan Schafer (2 for 5, 2 RBI), Jed Lowrie (2 for 3, BB, 2 RBI), Carlos Lee (2 for 5), and Lucas Harrell (2 for 3).

*Snyder had a multi-walk night, going 1 for 2 with 2 BB and 2 runs scored.

*Castro pinch-hit for Lyon in the 9th with Lowrie on first, and he delivered a two-out, two-strike double to right off Joel Hanrahan that tied the game at 7 all.

*J.D. Martinez was the only Houston starter without a hit, going 0 for 5 with a K.

Turning Point:

Wesley Wright's hanging curveball to Sutton with one out in the 9th. Following Castro the Astro in the top of the inning, you thought this just might be the night Houston finally got that first extra-innings win. Alas, it was not to be.

Man of the Match:

Jason Castro. At least he had us feeling great for a little while...

Goat of the Game:

It's hard to go with anyone but the losing pitcher in a walk-off scenario, so... sorry, Wesley Wright. No other Astros pitcher really did any better tonight, though.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Your 2012 PreStros All-Star Team

It's easy to get lost in the tress when writing daily recaps and employee of the month posts. Let's look at the forest and pick out our Astros County PreStros All-Stars, shall we? I've picked the starters, how about our readers pick the reserves in the comments.

C-Landon Powell

Powell is hitting .268/.383/.396 with 26 runs, 6 home runs, and 26 rbi. He's also thrown out an impressive 41% of would be base stealers.

1B-Jon Singleton

Singleton just edged out Mike Hessman here. Jon is hitting .269/.389/.481 with 16 doubles, 12 home runs, 52 runs scored and 45 rbi. He's doing all this as the fifth youngest player in the Texas League this season.

2B-Jose Martinez

It's tough going against Delino DeShields here, with his all ready record breaking season, but Martinez' game so far this year has been a bit more complete. Martinez is hitting .311/.366/.474 with 15 doubles, three triples, and nine home runs. He's scored 50 runs and knocked in 54. Amazingly he's performing this well having missed essentially all of the past three seasons.

SS-Jonathan Villar

Villar started slowly and had a few people worried, but he's really come on lately. He's hitting .267/.339/.385 with eight home runs, 48 runs, 42 rbi, and 35 stolen bases. Villar has also lowered his strikeout rate every month so far this season.

3B-Scott Moore

Scott has spend time at a few positions this year but has spent the majority of the season at third, splitting time with Brett Wallace. Moore has hit .318/.410/.555 this year with 26 doubles, 10 home runs, and 54 runs batted in. His success so far this year earned him a call-up to Houston.

OF-Brad Snyder, George Springer, Brandon Barnes

Snyder is hitting .309/.390/.539 with 10 home runs and 12 steals as he fights for another opportunity to show his skills at the major league level.

George Springer has seven triples and 16 home runs while hitting .314/.391/.558 in his first full season as a professional. In 74 games, he's also scored 70 runs and stolen 17 bases.

Brandon Barnes has really gained some attention this year as he's hit .321/.374/.524 over both AA and AAA after earning a promotion a little over a month ago. He has 10 home runs and 29 doubles, and his 20 doubles at Corpus are still good for fourth in the league. He's also stolen 16 bases and has five outfield assists.

SP-Mike Foltynewicz, Nicholas Tropeano, Jose Cisnero, Wes Musick, Luis Cruz

Folty has dominated in his second run through Lexington. He's put up a strong 9-2 record while posting a 2.51 ERA and 1.26 WHIP.

Nick Tropeano is proving that his success last year in short-season ball was no fluke. Between Lexington and one start for Lancaster, Trope has a 7-4 record, 2.55 ERA, and 1.15 WHIP. He's struck out 106 batters in 95.1 innings while walking just 28.

After a hiccup last year in Lancaster, Cisnero has his game back on track so far in Corpus. His record is just 5-6, but he's put up a 3.62 ERA while striking out 88 in 82 innings while nearly cutting in half his rate of homers allowed.

After struggling last year in his first season in the Astros organization, Wes Musick has rocketed up the system in 2012. After starting the season in Lancaster, Wes earned promotions to Corpus and OKC in very quick succession, going 4-4 with a 3.04 ERA along the way.

Luis Cruz is another pitcher enjoying success while repeating a level. He's gone 5-5 with a 3.71 ERA and 1.27 WHIP while displaying a strikeout rate of 8.1 per nine innings.

RP-Jason Stoffel, Jason Chowning, Murilo Gouvea, Carlos Quevedo, Jose Valdez

Stoffel is in the midst of a breakout season. In 31 games, he's notched 12 saves while posting a 1.62 ERA and 0.90 WHIP for Corpus. The key for his success this year is a drastically reduced walk rate, down to 1.9 per nine innings.

Jason Chowning was the recipient of a twitter campaign clamoring for his promotion to Lancaster earlier this season. He's struggled recently, but on the strength of his time in Lexington Jason has a 4.00 ERA on the season with 10 saves. What put him over the top for this group was an eye-popping 13.2 strikeout per nine rate.

Murilo Gouvea is a multi-inning reliever who has improved each of the past three seasons. This year he's thrown 47.2 innings in 30 games. His 3.02 ERA and 1.13 WHIP are both career bests for Murilo and he's struck out 54 against 17 walks.

Carlos Quevedo is repeating at Lexington while transitioning to the bullpen. His 4.24 ERA may not look good, but as recently as five appearances ago it was under 3.00. He earned his spot here by increasing his strikeout rate by 50% while maintaining his low walk rate. In 51 innings, he's struck out 56 while walking just 6.

Our last All-Star is Jose Valdez. Like Quevedo, his numbers don't look as good as they did earlier in the month. In total, Jose has 13 saves and 31 strikeouts in 28.1 innings to go with a 5.40 ERA. However, if you remove the three games he struggled trying to pitch through injury prior to a short stint on the disabled list earlier this month he'd be sitting pretty with a 2.77 ERA.

The Orlando Sentinel talks Carlos Correa

The Orlando Sentinel has a nice article on 1-1 Carlos Correa, which is nice.

Jose Cruz was especially complimentary:
"Everybody's excited there and is looking for him to be one of the best superstars ever from the island. To me, he's one of the best I ever saw. Just at practice only, what I saw watching him told me that he's going to be one of the best. He's so young — 17 years old — and was better than most everybody there that day."

Two more international signings

Yesterday we told you - or, at least linked to someone else telling you - about the Astros signing SS Kristian Trompiz. Brian McTaggart has two other signings for you:

*OF Luis Payano, 16 years old.
*C Victor Tavarez, 17 years old.

Terms were not disclosed. Click the link for info on all three.

One "Heck" of an interview

Ever wonder about the man behind the curtain during our farm system rebuild? Well, Jayne over at What the Heck, Bobby scored an interview with her site's namesake, Bobby Heck. It was so good the awesomeness had to be split into two parts. Go check them out!

Lance McCullers to debut July 13

1-41 Lance McCullers and the Astros are looking at July 13 for his professional debut, according to Zachary Levine's Notebook.

We also learn that Jio Mier is out for at least another ten days with a hamstring strain...

How about some positive?

These are bleak, bleak times for the Astros. They're 1.5 games out of the worst record in baseball (having just been swept by the Cubs, one of the teams with the worst record in baseball). Their 10-20 record in the last 30 games ties them with the Rockies and Phillies (!) for worst in the NL. They've won nine out of 38 games on the road, which, in decimal form, is .PissPoor. Carlos Lee loves it so much, he'd rather be here than in a pennant race.

So how about some things to cheer you up?

*The minor-league system has a cumulative 213-180 record, good enough for a .542 Win%. Only the DSL Astros are below .500.
*In his last ten games, Brett Wallace is hitting .389/.425/.583. Since a relatively bad April, Wallace has posted OPSes (?) of .869, 1.189, .804, respectively.
*After hitting .148/.317/.235 in June, Jon Singleton went 3x4 with two doubles and a homer last night. He had seven doubles in all of May and June.
*Ross Seaton, who is somehow still only 22, has a 3.93 ERA / 1.27 WHIP at Corpus. In his last four starts, he has thrown 26.2IP, 23H/9ER, 19K:2BB.
*Jarred Cosart had a 3.48 ERA / 1.23 WHIP in June, and has allowed three homers in 69IP. In his last two starts, Cosart has allowed 9H/0ER, 9K:3BB in 13IP. He has also gone 6IP+ in his last six starts.
*In his last ten games, George Springer is hitting .439/.510/.659 at Lancaster (with four of those games on the road). He posted an OPS of 1.004 and 1.001 for the whole months of May and June.
*Domingo Santana has a nine-game hit streak, and has two hits in six of those nine games.
*After posting a .753 OPS in 23 games at Lexington, Chris Epps is hitting .329/.402/.685 at Lancaster.
*In his last ten games, Delino DeShields is hitting .372/.481/.674 with ten stolen bases. His OPS by month: .700, .758, .831, 1.792 (July - 2 games)
*Mike Foltynewicz, in ten road starts: 56.2IP, 62H/15ER, 45K:22BB.
*Tri-City has won ten games in a row.
*In 13 games for Tri-City, Andrew Aplin is hitting .421/.547/.553, with 3K:11BB.
*Coming off Tommy John surgery, Vincent Velasquez has allowed 14H/3ER, 16k;3BB in 15.1IP for the ValleyCats. RHBs are hitting .190 against him.
*Brian Blasik has one strikeout in 43AB for Greeneville, with a .945 OPS.
*Ariel Ovando and Jean Carlos Batista have a .916 and a .958 OPS for Greeneville, respectively.
*Brett Maverick Phillips has a 1.009 OPS in his last ten games for the GCL Astros, with four triples in his last 16ABs.

Delino DeShields, Jr profiled

Occasionally while browsing sites for fantasy baseball I'll stumble across an interesting write-up on one of our PreStros. This morning I found this article by Craig Goldstein over at Fake Teams.  Even though it's written from a fantasy perspective (focusing on hitting, power, and base stealing) it's a decent summation of DDJ so far.

"What excites me about the impressive strides made while still remaining raw. It leads me to think that if he can post these types of improvements and results with his ceiling remaining so far away, that he could be quite an intriguing player to watch develop."

It's a quick read and worth checking out the rest of it. We'll still be here when you're done.

Monday, July 2, 2012

From the Office of the County Clerk: G80 - Astros @ Pirates

Jordan Lyles (2-4, 4.59) vs James McDonald (7-3, 2.44)

Ugly, ugly, ugly. The Pirates looked nothing like the second-worst hitting team in the National League as they sent Jordan Lyles to an early shower, and the Astros got killed again on the road, 11-2. Houston lost their fifth straight to fall to 32-48 on the season.

*Lyles was great through the first three innings, but then things began to unravel quickly. He coughed up four in the 4th, then three more to start the 5th, to end his night with a 4 IP / 9 H / 7 R / 7 ER / 0 BB / 6 K line, including back-to-back homers by Garrett Jones and Neil Walker. Rhiner Cruz, Fernando Abad, and Fernando Rodriguez didn't fare any better, combining for a 3 IP / 8 H / 4 R / 4 ER / 1 BB / 2 K line. Only David Carpenter escaped unscathed for Houston, tossing a scoreless 7th.


*Jose Altuve led off the game with a walk and scored the run that gave Houston a 1-0 lead until the fateful 4th, but he'd finish the night 0 for 4 after that.

*J.D. Martinez drove in that Altuve run and went 2 for 4 with a double on the night. He's now hitting .308 / .357 / .558 since June 16.

*Scott Moore, starting in place of an injured Chris Johnson, delivered Houston's other run on a 6th inning HR off McDonald. He was 1 for 4.

*Jason Castro and Carlos "Immovable Object" Lee had Houston's other hits. Castro is hitting .297 since May 21.

*Jed Lowrie took another 0 for 4 with 2 K, dropping his average to .253, its lowest point since April 25.

*As long as we're looking at arbitrary endpoints, Jordan Schafer was 0 for 3 and is hitting .171 since May 31.

Turning Point:

Jordan Lyles had held the Pirates to one hit and no runs through three innings, but then five straight hits to start the 4th produced four runs, dooming him and the Astros to defeat.

Man of the Match:

J.D. Martinez. It's nice to see him swinging well with more consistency of late.

Goat of the Game:

Lyles. Right now, he's in line to start Houston's final game before the All-Star Break, and he may need to redeem himself in that game if he's to avoid being the odd man out when the six-man rotation presumably drops back to five.

June PreStros Employees of the Month

At this point in the season, the full season leagues have at least named their all-stars, if not already played the games. For younger players fatigue starts setting in as they're not quite used to the full schedule grind, and the stronger prospects start to pull away from the field. Let's see who's staying in the kitchen as the heat gets turned up.

15-13 in June

Hitter of the Month: Mike Hessman

For the second straight month, Mike Hessman gets the honors. In June, Mike hit .279/.319/.702 with 14 home runs and 27 runs batted in.

Pitcher of the Month: Mickey Storey

Mickey appeared in 10 games for Oklahoma City and threw 16 innings. During that stretch he posted a 0.56 ERA with three wins and one save. He struck out 15 and walked just two.

Honorable Mention:

Jimmy Paredes hit .324/.365/.454 with eight extra base hits and 11 steals.

18-8 in June

Hitter of the Month: Kody Hinze

Kody finally showed the bat he displayed last season. He hit .306/.370/.542 with five homeruns in 72 at bats.

Pitcher of the Month: Alex Sogard

Alex is another guy who struggled early and is finally showing what he can do. During the month he pitched 11 innings in six appearances. While not factoring in any decisions or earning any saves, Alex put up an identical ERA and WHIP of 1.64 with nine strikeouts and three walks.

Honorable Mention:

Jonathan Villar hit .292/.396/.483 with five homers and 12 steals while drastically improving his walk rate and lowering his strikeout rate.

Jose Cisnero went 3-1 with a 2.18 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 33 innings.

12-12 in June

Hitter of the Month: Ben Heath

Ben has quietly but consistently put together a good season. In June he hit .407/.435/.627 with 12 runs, three home runs, and 16 rbi in 14 games.

Pitcher of the Month: Jose Trinidad

Jose built upon his May to put up unbelievable numbers in June. In eight games and 21 innings, he put up a 0.43 ERA and a 4-1 record out of the bullpen.

Honorable Mention:

Andrew Robinson went 0-1 with four saves while putting up a 2.40 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. He also struck out 22 in 15 innings.

George Springer hit .314/.455/.547 with five home runs while cutting his strikeout rate by a third.

14-12 in June

Hitter of the Month: Brandon Meredith

After a slow May, Brandon came on in June to put up a line of .284/.382/.568 with six home runs.

Pitcher of the Month: Murilo Gouvea

Murilo went 1-1 with 1 save while putting up a 0.61 ERA. Opposing batters hit just .114 against him while he struck out 14 in 14.2 innings.

Honorable Mention:

Nick Tropeano put up a 2.22 ERA while going 3-1 on the month. He struck out 30 in 28.1 innings and was promoted to Lancaster just before month end.

Delino DeShields hit .303/.407/.424 with 22 runs and 25 steals as he has already broken the single season minor league stolen base record for the Astros organization.

Phil Rogers: Pirates likely trading partner for Lowrie

We've seen this a couple of places this morning, but here's a link to the Chicago Tribune's Phil Rogers' tawdrily-titled "Baseball Whispers" (which sounds like it should air on Showtime at 1:55am) from yesterday:

Shortstop Jed Lowrie has been a huge surprise for the Astros but could be dealt within the NL Central. The Pirates are a likely trading partner.

I guess Clint Barmes and his .536 OPS just isn't cutting it.

Astros sign Kristian Trompiz

With a captip to Native_Astro, Enrique Rojas is reporting that the Astros have signed 16-year old Venezuelan shortstop Kristian Trompiz for $300,000.

Courtesy of SpikesNStars, we have a link to this note from Ben Badler on Trompiz:
Scouts have some concerns about his bat speed from the right side, but he's shown he can work the count with a solid approach and hitting instincts. He's around an average runner and a solid fielder, though his 45 arm may fit better at second base.

Astros June Recap

Well, June sucked, huh? The team entered June with a 22-29 record, 6.5 games behind the Reds for the division lead. Over the course of the month, they went 10-17, got Perfect Gamed by Matt Cain, "hit" .238/.307/.402 as a team, left 164 runners on base, and left June 11.5 back of the Reds.

Some more numbers:
*The Astros won two series all month: against the White Sox and Indians, somehow.
*On the road in June, the Astros were 3-10, with a -41 run differential, getting outscored 44-85.
*The Astros were held to two or fewer runs 12 times in June.
*The pitching staff allowed a .274/.333/.437 slash line. Starters allowed a .725 OPS, while the bullpen allowed an .862 OPS and a 7.03 ERA.
*The Astros were shut out five times this month. The last time they were shut out 5+ times in a single calendar month was in July 2010.

Top Performers:
Jason Castro: .302/.367/.453, 12K:6BB in 60 PAs.
Lucas Harrell: .228/.270/.339 allowed, 1.07 WHIP.

Jordan Schafer: .176/.288/.250, .538 OPS, 26K in 80 PAs
Wandy Rodriguez: .306/.341/.508 allowed, 17K in 30IP.
Brett Myers: .386/.429/.545 allowed, .395 BABIP.
Fernando Rodriguez: .229/.333/.486, 11.17 ERA / 1.45 WHIP.

Monday Morning Link Dump

Here's your Monday Morning Link Dump - most of which don't deal with how much we hate Carlos Lee.

John Royal: Carlos Lee did the thing he's best at. He did absolutely nothing.

Garrett Gould was flattered by the Astros' interest.

Modesto's manager wasn't real happy with Nick Tropeano's strike zone last night. And the travel was tough.

Ron Washington defends the fact that he will manage seven (potentially eight) Rangers next Tuesday night in Kansas City.

Old links, newly relevant:

Greg Lucas (April 2012): Lee is in actuality a happy go lucky guy who plays the percentages. He knows how fast he has to run to get to a ball and make a play. He knows when false hustle is just to make him look good, but really not productive. The problem is that when he measures his running effort it appears to be lack of hustle.

Sean Pendergast (July 2010): At this point, I don't know what Astros fans are more angry about, Carlos -- the fact that you're just a big, fat punch line, or the fact that you don't even really seem to care. I get the whole "waking up happy to be alive every day" thing, but for $19 million per year, the fans would like a bat broken over a knee just once. Maybe some cursing or a chokeslam of Ed Wade. Something. Anything. Hell, Shawn Chacon was only in Houston for about twelve minutes, and he at least gave us that!

Around the Dodgers blogs

To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction: or the forces of two bodies on each other are always equal and are directed in opposite directions.
-Isaac Newton's Third Law of Motion

As we all (or, at least most of us) despaired over Carlos Lee's decision to finish what he started - which we tweeted, "The slow and steady murder of Astros fans' will to live" - it's worth checking the Dodgers blogs to see what they had to say about it.

Chad Moriyama:
You know how to tell that this trade is an iffy upgrade? When it’s even arguable as to whether a potential acquisition is an improvement over James Loney and Juan Rivera.

Lasorda's Lair:
As the days lingered on while everyone waited for Lee to discuss his options with his family, it became apparent that his reluctance signaled his desire to stay put. Although Lee has every right to veto the trade as stated in his contract, the prolonged wait on his decision was a bit bothersome for Houston and Dodger fans alike.

L.A. Dodger Talk:
P.S. If Carlos Lee is too stupid to want to go to a contender, screw him!

Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness:
There’s also the case of Carlos Lee to consider, should he decide to accept a trade which most of us won’t like. (And we’ll like it even less if reports of the Dodgers eating most of the money and sending a decent prospect in Garrett Gould are true; that would be absurd.)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Takeaways from the last 48 hours

And so, Carlos Lee has ultimately rejected a trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers (or he took so long that the Dodgers called it off), one of the most storied franchises in the history of the game, who are currently sitting one game out of the NL West lead, but who - thanks to the new playoff scenarios - would currently make the playoffs. His reasons are his own, but here are some things we can take away from it:

1. Carlos Lee had every right to decline this trade. It was within the boundary of the contract he signed before the 2007 season. Might this be the first time that we rip a player for staying with the Astros? Because...

2. Lee's desire to compete can now officially be called into question. He did not want to join a pennant race for all of three months. As we pointed out on Twitter, Carlos Lee has made over $111m in his career, and has what is apparently a successful cattle ranch in south Texas. To Carlos Lee, that is enough. He has his money, his family is financially secure, and one final chance at October doesn't blow up his skirt.

Lee has 8,433 career plate appearances, and 12 post-season plate appearances (in 2000, he went 1x11 with a double and a sac fly for the White Sox in the ALDS), and he isn't interested in seeing if he can get a ring. I say "one final chance at October" because...

3. If I was any GM, anywhere, I would now think twice about trading for Carlos Lee, much less giving him a contract for the 2013 season. If Lee didn't want to play for a competing team, I wouldn't want him anywhere near my clubhouse.

4. Still, Jeff Luhnow won. He got a team willing to part with something warm for Carlos Lee. It doesn't matter (for me, anyway) if Lee goes anywhere for the rest of 2012 - we only have to watch him jog out grounders or infield pop-ups for another 80 games, or so. But with the news coming out that there was at least a deal in place, he made us further believers in the new regime. And if news of the deal was leaked by Luhnow, that's a genius move right there.

See, Ed Wade may have been trying his little pants off to move Lee, but was so tight-lipped about it that we never got to see or hear anything about the behind-the-scenes moves. And perhaps that's the best way to go about it. But what the fanbase needs right now is to know that the front office is at least trying to make moves to send the team forward. It didn't actually happen this weekend, but it's further evidence that Luhnow is the right man for the job.

Carlos Lee Sunday Timeline

Keep refreshing this page, because it's a fluid situation. Click here for Friday's and Saturday's Lee Rumor Thread.


7:13pm - Rosenthal: Source: #Dodgers pulled out of Lee talks earlier today. Deal off.

7:13pm - Olney: And, as Lee was telling the Astros he wasn't interested, the Dodgers also pulled out of the trade talks.

7:10pm - Levine: Not all that surprising that this one is dead. Lee left Chicago with the Astros. Will be awkward but interesting month.

7:08pm - Tim Brown: The Dodgers have withdrawn their offer for Carlos Lee. They'll look elsewhere for a bat...

7:06pm - Heyman: Dodgers pulled plug on Lee trade.

5:33pm - Olney: As of now, sources say Carlos Lee hadn't changed his mind from Sat. and won't agree to deal. Source: "It's probably not going to work out."

2:03pm - McTaggart: Carlos Lee said Sunday morning he still hadn’t made a decision on whether to accept a trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers, though several of his teammates believe the slugger wants to stay with the Astros.

10:17am - Levine: Lee says he hasn't made a decision yet, is in the lineup today.

From the Office of the County Clerk: G79 - Astros @ Cubs

Wandy Rodriguez (6-5, 3.52) vs Travis Wood (2-3, 3.54)

The Astros start July they way they ended too many games in June - no runs, only 4 hits, and another solid pitching performance wasted. Astros lose, 3-0, and head off to face 2nd-place Pittsburgh after being swept by the MLB-worst Cubs. Houston's 2012 record is now 32-47.

*Wandy did a far sight better than in his last outing on Monday, but he escaped the loss then and got tagged with it today. His line: 7 IP / 5 H / 3 R / 3 ER / 1 BB / 3 K. David Carpenter and Wesley Wright combined for a perfect 8th, but, y'know.... no Astros runs. Houston has a 2.63 team ERA over their last 12 games, but they only have a 4-8 record to show for it.


*Altuve is back! He celebrated his return to the lineup and his selection as Houston's final NL All-Star by going 1 for 4.

*J.D. Martinez stroked a 5th-inning double, and Carlos Lee (who's still here... for now) added a double of his own with two outs in the 9th, giving Houston mulitple XBHs in a game for the first time since Tuesday.

*Houston's only other hit was an 8th inning single by Brian Bixler.

*Jed Lowrie still deserves to be an All-Star, but his recent slump may have killed his chances. He went 0 for 4 today, and he's hitting only .138 since his average peaked at .297 on June 9.

*No Astro took a base on balls today, but six Astros struck out, including Jason Castro and Altuve twice each.

Turning Point:

It was a scoreless game with two hits to a side going to the bottom of the 6th, when Cubs pitcher Travis Wood led off the inning with a double against Wandy. A groundout and an IBB later, then it was Anthony Rizzo's turn to be the hero again, driving home Wood on a single to right for the only run the Cubs would need.

Man of the Match:

Wandy. He delivered the Astros' 12th quality start in their last 14 games (plus Dallas Keuchel allowed only 1 R over 5 IP the game before that). The starters have been lights out lately.

Goat of the Game:

Everyone wearing a Houston jersey who picked up a bat today.