Saturday, October 13, 2012

Arizona Fall League: Oct 12

While we try to figure out just exactly why God is trolling Astros fans with the Cardinals' win last night, enjoy a report from Mesa...

Mesa overcame a 4-run Surprise 1st inning to win 12-6.

Jon Singleton: 1x4, BB
George Springer: 2x3, 3B, HR, 2BB, 4RBI, 3 runs scored
Bobby Borchering: 1x4, HR, 2RBI, 3K:1BB

Chia-Jen Lo: 1IP, 0H/0ER, 1K:1BB

Friday, October 12, 2012

Former Astros

I thought it'd be fun to see how all the former Astros were doing so far in the playoffs.

Hunter Pence - .200/.200/.200 0 R 0 HR 0 RBI 1 SB
Carlos Beltran - .333/.421/.800 3 R 2 HR 4 RBI 1 SB
Troy Patton - 0-0 .2 IP 0.00 ERA 2 H  0 K 2 BB
Andy Pettitte - 0-1 7.0 IP 3.86 ERA 3 H 5 K 1 BB.

Never mind. That wasn't fun at all. Sorry about that.

UPDATE

Aubrey Huff - .000/.000/.000 0 R 0 HR 0 RBI  (3 AB)
Octavio Dotel - 0-0 1.0 IP 0.00 ERA 2 SO 1 BB
Jose Valverde - 0-1 1.2 IP 16.20 ERA 3 SO  BB.

That was embarrassing.  


Arizona Fall League: Oct 11

Mesa won their first game of the season by scoring the last five runs of the game for a 6-5 win over Surprise. Your PreStros:

Jon Singleton: 2x5, 2B, K
Bobby Borchering: 0x4, K
Nick Tropeano: 2IP, 0H/0ER, 3K - 18 pitches (!) and 12 for strikes

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Prospects we watched in 2012

Back in February we mentioned a handful of minor leaguers that, for one reason or another, we thought fans should keep an eye on. Let's go back and see how they did.

Catcher

Consensus: Chris Wallace - Chris spent most of the season in Corpus and battled injuries as his bat took a step back this year. In 236 at bats he hit .254/.335/.390 with just five home runs after knocking 20 in 365 at bats last year. Defensively he caught just 12% of base stealers. Injured or not, this was a big step back for Wallace. He can't afford another season like this.

Under the Radar: Ernesto Genoves - Genoves repeated this season at Greeneville but failed to show improvement. His hitting fell off to .232/.306/.402 but he maintained his decent walk and strikeout rates. His caught stealing percentage dropped slightly to 25%, though he did a better job with passed balls by allowing just three after having nine last season. Had his bat continued to improve he would have started getting a little attention, but at this point he's heading for the dreaded "organizational depth" label. 

Make or Break: Rene Garcia - Garcia repeated at Lancaster most of the season, along with nine games at Corpus. While his batting average improved to .285 it was very empty, as he had no home runs and took just eight walks on the season. His rate catching base stealers declined for the third straight season while he showed little if any improvement preventing passed balls. A defense first minor leaguer with declining defensive performance won't last long.

First Base

Consensus: Jonathan Singleton - Singleton was everything we were hoping, and maybe more. He spent the year as a 20 year old at Corpus where he hit .284/.396/.497 with 21 home runs. He'll probably start the season in OKC, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him in Houston sometime in 2013.

Under the Radar: Mario Gonzalez - Mario flew so far under the radar in 2012 he ended up getting released in June just as the short-season leagues got started.

Make or Break: Kody Hinze - Kody's Corpus drop off continued in 2012 as he struggled to hit just .212/.299/.365 with 11 home runs. Hinze's age and struggles this season combined with the emergence of Jon Singleton led to Kody being released in August.

Second Base

Consensus: Delino DeShields - DDJ firmly re-established himself as a top prospect in 2012. Splitting the season between Lexington and Lancaster, DeShields destroyed the Astros organization stolen base record, swiping 101 bags, while hitting .287/.389/.428 with 12 home runs. While the stats don't necessarily reflect it, his defense at second base was noticeably improved as well.

Under the Radar: Brandon Wikoff - Brandon appeared in just 22 games for Corpus before being shut down in July due to a wrist injury. Not that it tells us much given the circumstances, but he hit .190/.297/.222. He'll be 25 next season and is now behind Jose Altuve, Jose Martinez, and, likely, DeShields on the depth chart.

Make or Break: Andrew Simunic - Simunic ended up spending most of his time at third base for Corpus this year along with a few games at short. Offensively, his results were decent if not predictable as he hit .290/.343/.338. He's 27 and he is who he is; a decent utility player who may be able to hold his own at the plate if pressed into emergency service.

Shortstop

Consensus: Jonathan Villar - Villar started slowly while repeating at Corpus, but started coming on strong midway through the season before breaking his hand throwing a tantrum. He finished the season hitting .261/.336/.396 while stealing 39 bases, increasing his walk rate, and decreasing his strikeout rate. His defense is still raw but, like the rest of his game, flashes high potential. He'll turn 22 next year and, while I don't think he's ready yet, will probably spend most of next season in AAA.

Under the Radar: Juan Santana - Juan made the jump stateside, playing in the Gulf Coast League this year. He split his time between 2B and SS and his defensive numbers at 2B were much stronger. His offensive numbers were very similar to what he posted last season in the Dominican except for his walk rate, which dropped dramatically. He was still just 17 last year, so we'll see what the next few years bring. He'll probably spend the 2013 season in short-season ball again.

Make or Break: Jiovanni Mier - Jio repeated at Lancaster as a 21 year old and looked like he was putting it together before suffering a hamstring injury that limited him to just 46 games in 2012. He hit a strong .292/.396/.409 while continuing to play solid defense. He'll slot in one level below Villar next season to start the year but if he can continue outperforming Villar by an appreciable margin he could leap frog him at some point next year.


Third Base

Consensus: Mike Kvasnicka - During Spring Training it was announced that Mike would move back behind the plate. That only lasted 26 games before splitting the rest of the season between RF and DH. He struggled through a brutal April, hitting .118/.167/.191. Moving out from behind the dish helped out as he posted OPS's of .820 and .819 in June and July before ending up on the DL for the rest of the season. He ended up with a line of .232/.275/.412 with 15 home runs. While it was nice to see his power start to show, he'll be 24 next season, he doesn't seem to have a position, and his bat hasn't shown the polish normally seen from player taken out of college. 

Under the Radar: Jonathan Meyer - Jonathan repeated at Lancaster and took a step back performance-wise. His walk rate was nearly cut in half and his power dropped off as well. He finished the year hitting .272/.315/.375 with eight home runs. A third base prospect that has a tough time producing in Lancaster likely doesn't have a long shelf life.

Make or Break: David Flores - David was released around the time this list was originally put together.

Outfield

Consensus: Ariel Ovando - Ovando spent another season in Greeneville and made positive strides on offense and defense. He hit .287/.350/.444 with six home runs while improving his walk rate and reducing the number of fielding errors he committed. Next year will be a real test as he's expected to play full-season ball for the first time at Quad Cities.

George Springer - George had the breakout year everyone was hoping for. He started the season in Lancaster where he put up a .955 OPS with 22 home runs and 28 steals before being promoted to Corpus for the final month of the season. His strikeout rate was a little concerning, as he whiffed 156 times in 506 at bats, but he also showed a good eye at the plate. His swing is described being all or nothing, so improving his two-strike approach should help. He'll likely start the season back at Corpus, but another strong showing like he had this season will get him promoted quickly.

Domingo Santana - Santana is another guy who made big strides in 2012. As a 19 year old in the California League, he hit an impressive .302/.385/.536 with 23 home runs. His strikeout rate remained high but his walk rate improved to over 10%. He also continued showing his strong arm, notching 12 outfield assists. If he continues to develop at this rate, he and Springer have the potential to be 2/3 of an All-Star outfield.

Under the Radar: Brandon Meredith - Brandon made good strides playing all season in Lexington. He hit .278/.377/.506 in 316 at bats with a strong walk rate, 15 home runs, and 12 steals. Don't be surprised if he has huge numbers in Lancaster, but Corpus will be the real test for him.

Teoscar Hernandez - At 19 years old, Teoscar made the jump stateside from the Dominican League. His numbers dipped a bit, but that's not unusual for players in their first year playing in the U.S. He hit .243/.323/.401 while stealing 10 bases in 11 tries. He made sure he brought his arm with him as he racked up 11 outfield assists.

Adam Bailey - Bailey battled injury as he split time between Lancaster and Corpus with a cameo in OKC. He hit .264/.309/.440 with 10 home runs in 318 at bats. He's another outfielder who put up double digit assists as he gunned down 10 runners.

Make or Break: Grant Hogue - Grant had a late start to the season after recovering from a broken hamate bone but did his best to make up for lost time. In 43 games with Lancaster he hit .361/.421/.458 while stealing 27 bases. His small sample size strong showing likely bought him a little more time to prove himself.

T.J. Steele - Steele "hit" just .141/.184/.268 in 26 games for Corpus before getting released. He was later signed by San Diego where he played a month in AA before getting released again.

Jon Gaston - Gaston was released prior to the season.

Starting Pitcher

Consensus: Jarred Cosart - Cosart was limited to just 114.2 innings due to lingering blister issues, but pitched well between Corpus and OKC. He finished the year with a 3.30 ERA and saw his K/9 tick back up over seven, something that had been a bit of a concern given his stuff. Don't be surprised to see him in Houston some time next year.

Brett Oberholtzer - Brett struggled badly at the beginning of the season but got stronger as the season progressed to post a 4.37 ERA with a 3.4 K/BB rate in 166.2 innings split between OKC and Corpus. His final month, at AAA, he put up a 2.45 ERA in 40.1 innings. If he can avoid another slow start he, too, could see time in Houston in 2013.

Paul Clemens - Clemens started the season in OKC but performed very poorly before getting sent back to Corpus for the final month of the season. In 143.1 total innings he had a 5.78 ERA and his K/9 slipped to 6.6. There have been suggestions that he may be better suited to the bullpen.

Mike Foltynewicz - Repeating in Lexington worked out well for Folty as he went 14-4 with a 3.14 ERA in 152 innings. His peripherals snapped back to where they were expected to be, but a walk rate that has creeped up each year should be watched closely. He still seems to struggle a bit with composure but did make strides in his mound presence as well.

Kyle Weiland - Weiland had a strong Spring Training and started the season in Houston's rotation but made just three starts before going down for the rest of the season with a shoulder injury. He is expected to be ready in time for the 2013 season.

Under the Radar: Luis Ordosgoitti - Ordosgoitti got hit hard and often this season in Lexington, appearing to get weaker as his first year in full-season ball went on. In 103 innings he posted a 5.42 ERA. He's still just 20 and should be able to better handle a full schedule next year. I expect him to bounce back.

Nick Tropeano - Tropeano started popping up on prospect lists after a strong season split between Lexington and Lancaster. In 158 innings he pitched to a 3.02 ERA while striking out more than a batter an inning. I'd like to see how he handles Corpus next season. A strong showing there will get a lot of prospect watchers excited.

Carlos Quevedo - Quevedo switched almost exclusively to the bullpen in 2012, and it suited him well. While keeping his BB/9 low at 1.7, his K/9 soared to 10.0 as he posted a 3.22 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in 86.2 innings between Lexington and Lancaster. Expect to see his stock rise quickly if he can keep up this type of performance out of the pen.

Kyle Hallock - Kyle suffered through injury in 2012, putting up an 8.22 ERA in 30.2 innings between Lexington and a rehab stint with the Gulf Coast team. Hopefully he can make a full recovery and get back on track next year.

Jake Buchanan - Buchanan spent most of the season in Corpus with a cup of coffee in OKC and pitched to a 5.25 ERA in 142.1 innings. His strikeout and walk rates were in line with his career numbers, but he gave up nearly 12 hits per nine innings. Another year in Corpus will tell us whether or not he can make it.

Make or Break: Jonnathan Aristil - Aristil moved to the bullpen this season and must have racked up a ton of frequent flyer miles as he was repeatedly shifted back and forth from Corpus to OKC. The shuffling didn't suit him as his ERA was 5.87 in 46 innings. Given his performance and the way the organization used him as bullpen filler it's likely that Aristil's days are numbered.

Robert Donovan - Donovan was released before the season started.

Sergio Perez - Sergio moved to the bullpen for OKC in 2013 but the move didn't help his results much. In 75.1 innings he pitched to a 4.54 ERA with just 1.6 K/BB. I'll be surprised if he's back next season.

Relief Pitcher

Consensus: Jack Armstrong - Armstrong underwent Tommy John surgery before the season started. He'll be back on the mound next season.

Adrian Houser - Houser's peripherals in Greeneville were much better than his results would indicate. In 58 innings his ERA was 4.19, along with a K/9 of 8.4, BB/9 of 3.6, and H/9 of 8.2. He's still highly thought of among prospect followers.

Under the Radar: Alex Sogard - Sogard pitched exclusively out of the bullpen, starting the season in Lancaster before spending most of the year in Corpus. In 69.2 innings he posted a 3.62 ERA and earned a spot as one of the Astros delegates to the Arizona Fall League.

Mitchell Lambson - Lambson continued dominating the hitters in the lower minors while he spend most of the season in Lexington after starting the year in Greeneville. In 46 innings he put up a 2.15 ERA and an outstanding 10.6 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9.

Ryan Cole - Ryan was released before the season.

Evan Grills - Grills had a rough time in Lexington this year. In 71.1 innings he had a 4.92 ERA with a K/BB of 1.8 while giving up 11 home runs. I had a chance to see him pitch this season and his stuff seems to match these results; nothing particularly overpowering or deceptive.

Matison Smith - Matison was released before the season.

Make or Break: Pat Urckfitz - Pat had a bounce back season in Lancaster. In 66.1 innings he had a 3.66 ERA with 8.4 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9. Next season should see him get a second shot at Corpus.


If there's one thing we learned this year, it's that minor league relief pitchers, particularly ones below the AA level can disappear with no warning and no apparent reason. We also saw the minor league system make outstanding strides as their U.S. located teams posted the best total winning percentage of all 30 organizations. The bulk of the talent seems to be concentrated in Lancaster and Corpus, though the lower levels show a lot of promise as well. Once these kids start hitting Houston in another couple seasons we should see the Astros begin to reap the fruits of their rebuild.


Three elect free agency

According to Baseball America, Brian Bixler, Angel Sanchez, and Travis Buck - Astros sometimes-minor-leaguers - have elected free agency:

Bixler got 96 plate appearances in 36 games, "hitting" .193/.253/.330 with 2HR, 36K:7BB. At OKC, he hit .269/.346/.361.

Sanchez went from being the Astros' Opening Day shortstop in 2011 to a minor-league free agent at the end of 2012. In 102 games for OKC in 2012, he hit .320/.390/.407, with 25K:40BB - the best minor-league season of his career.

In 33 games (81 PAs) for Houston in 2012, Buck hit .216/.284/.311, with six extra-base hits. In 22 games for OKC this season, he hit .359/.414/.469.

Playoff Team Construction


 As you might have noticed, the Astros didn’t make the playoffs this year. Oh, so close. Obviously, the goal of all fans is to see their team win it all, and for that, you need to construct a team that will make it to the second season. After that, it’s a crapshoot.  Just ask Billy Beane. As we get ready to watch a slate full of meaningful Astroless games, once again, let’s take a look at how each of the 8 teams that made the playoffs were constructed,  to see which model the Astros should take to get them back to their rightful place. Rankings from the worst model to the best.

Orioles

The Orioles were 29-9 in one run games this year. They went 16-2 in extra innings. They outscored their opponents by only 7 runs, and exceeded their Pythagorean record by 11 wins. Not to take anything away from them. They are in, and they have as good a shot as anyone.  If someone can figure out exactly HOW they did it, and a way to replicate it, the Orioles path to the playoffs seems like the way to go. I mean, that’s easier than actually taking the time to get good. Until then, let’s maybe try a different way.

Yankees

The Yankees path to the playoffs is essentially to be the Yankees. The Red Sox tried to be the Yankees, with varying degrees of success. The Dodgers are currently a couple months into trying to be the Yankees, and the early returns are not promising. Something tells me the Astros, who have questioned whether hiring a certain broadcaster is in their budget, won’t be taking the “be the Yankees” path anytime soon.

Tigers

Tigers’ path:
  1. Acquire the best pitcher in baseball
  2. Acquire the best hitter in baseball
  3.  ?????
  4.  Profit
That is obviously an oversimplification, as they got great seasons out of Austin Jackson, Prince Fielder and Max Scherzer. But they are definitely taking a stars and scrubs approach to team building. That works when your stars are Cabrera and Verlander. Maybe Correa and McCullers could be that for the Astros, but I think a better bet would be a more balanced approach.

Giants

The Giants have had a consistent run of success based primarily on their young starting pitching. They drafted Cain, Lincecum and Bumgarner, and that trio led them to the World Series in 2010.The offense has typically lagged behind, and this year was no different, although the offense saw improvement with the rise to MVP status of Buster Posey. They caught lightening in a bottle with their young pitchers, but that is always a risky proposition. If the Astros were able to get pitchers of that caliber through the draft, I’d be all for it. However, TINSTAAPP (There is No Such Thing As A Pitching Prospect), which is why I was thrilled with the pick of Correa over Appel in this year’s draft. 

Reds

For whatever reason, the Reds have been unable to find any consistency. They won the division two years ago, with 91 wins, dropped below .500 last year, and returned to 97 wins this year. I can’t figure this team out, and I have nothing interesting to say. There are better ways to build a team, but there are worse ones too. Next team, please.

Athletics

Ah, the sabermetric darlings of baseball, immortalized in Moneyball, the book and movie. Win by exploiting market inefficiencies on a limited payroll, and then get beat at your own game by teams exploiting the same inefficiencies with a bigger payroll. They are back, and this time with an all-rookie pitching staff and their best offensive players a castoff from Boston and a Cuban rookie. They are absolutely a model for making the most of limitations, and making the playoffs against all odds. Thing is, Houston is not a small market, and should be able to combine the A’s smarts with a little bit of money.   

Cardinals

The Cardinals are a model franchise. They have finished below .500 once in the last ten years, making the playoffs 9 times since 2000, and winning the World Series twice. They have replenished their team through the draft, despite not drafting particularly high. They have supplemented with smart free agent acquisitions, without overly burdening their future. They experienced a small drop off with the loss of Pujols, but not enough to keep them out of the playoffs. (They actually had a better run differential this year than last, FWIW). They are a lot like the kid in college who knows exactly what he needs to do to make an A, and does no more and no less. (Okay, that kid was me.) You’ll let us win the division with 83 wins. Okay – we’ll win the World Series. We need to win the wild card, and it will take an epic collapse from the team we are chasing? Okay – we’ll win the World Series. You will add a 2nd Wild Card, and we’ll need to play a play-in game on the road? Okay – you see where this is going. If the Astros can emulate the long term success of this franchise, everyone will be happy. I choose to give Luhnow 100% credit for all of the Cardinals' success, and am sure he will be able to duplicate that run in Houston in a couple years. So why are they number 2?

Nationals

After a couple mediocre seasons, team loses 100 games two years in a row, and as a result picks first in the next two draft. Sound familiar. That was Nationals in 2008 and 2009. After losing 81, 91 and 89 games, the bottom dropped out and they lost 102 and 103 in consecutive seasons. That afforded them generational talents in Harper and Strasburg, and combined with several other smart acquisitions, got them in the playoffs as the number 1 seed in the NL just three years later. They are an example of how the draft system is supposed to work, and how you don’t have to get stuck in the same rut teams like the Pirates and Royals have been in for so long. Maybe the Astros won’t be on the same time table, but the Nationals are proof that we could be watching the Astros play these meaningful September games, and sooner rather than later.


Arizona Fall League: Oct. 10

The Mesa Solar Sox dropped to 0-2 with an 11-3 loss to Salt River yesterday. But that doesn't matter, because we only care about how the Astros' prospects did. Here you go:

Jon Singleton: 2x4, triple, 2-run HR, 3RBI, run scored
George Springer: 0x3, BB
Jio Mier: 1x4

Pitchers:
Alex Sogard: 1.1IP, 2H/3R (0ER), 0K:1BB
Chia-Jen Lo: 1IP, 1H/1ER, 2K:1BB

Ausmus to interview for Red Sox gig

Here's the Boston Globe announcing that Brad Ausmus will interview to be the next manager of the Red Sox.

Remember he withdrew his name from the Astros gig, but the Red Sox' (s?) position is obviously more appealing:

Ausmus, last week on the Red Sox job:
"That's one job that would get me off my couch early."

Everyone is gone

Greg Lucas tweeted out yesterday that he would not be involved with the Astros' broadcasts for the 2013 season, but will inquire about radio vacancies.

We also learn that Barry Waters, the travel coordinator, will not be returning to the Astros in 2013.

So if you are an employee of the Astros, and you have worked there longer than two years, you might want to get your resumes in order.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Arizona Fall League: Oct 9

A little wrap-up on Opening Day of the Mesa Solar Sox' Arizona Fall League season for you, as the Salt River Rafters took G1, 6-5.

Jarred Cosart got the start and was cruising along - not allowing a baserunner through the first 2.2IP. He ended the night with 3.1IP, 3H/2ER, 2K:0BB, and an error due to a missed catch. Of his 50 pitches thrown, 31 were for strikes and he got seven groundouts to one flyout.

Jonathan Singleton: 1x5, 2Ks.
Bobby Borchering: 0x2, BB, Run scored
George Springer: 0x1 as a pinch-hitter.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

New Social Media Director to be announced

As part of their off-season overhaul of the team's media group, the Astros are set to reveal their new Director of Social Media on October 22.

The position has stood vacant since July when the previous Director, Alyson Footer, left the team to take a national correspondent position with MLB.com. Whoever is filling this position, their first order of business should be to shore up an area of the team's front office that saw a series of embarrassing mistakes towards the end of the season. Since this was discussed in another post over the weekend it won't be rehashed here.

Dewayne Staats finalist for HOF award

Dewayne Staats is one of ten finalists for the Ford C. Frick award from the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Staats has been the Rays' play-by-play guy since their inception in 1998, but he worked for the Astros from 1977-1984. He's also Dan Wheeler's father-in-law.

The Frick award is given to broadcasters by the Hall of Fame every year, and Milo Hamilton won the award in 1992.

Arizona Fall League preview

So the Arizona Fall League starts today. Here's what you need to know...

What is the Arizona Fall League?
The AFL is a fall league, where all the teams play in Arizona.

Seriously?
Yes, but to be more specific, the AFL has six teams in two divisions. Each MLB team sends seven of their top prospects to the AFL, comprising of 180 players. Most are Double-A and Triple-A, but a team can send one A-level player.

What team will the Astros have players on?
I think it's actually supposed to be, "On which team will the Astros have players?" But I know what you meant. The Astros have players on the Mesa Solar Sox, managed by Rodney Linares.

What the hell is a Solar Sox?
It's a sock with solar panels to make players better. Anyone who puts one of these Solar Sox on will receive a 50-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs. 

Wait. This Rodney Linares fella sounds familiar.
Sure he does. He was the manager of the Lancaster JetHawks this season. 

Who are the Astros sending to Mesa?
Jarred Cosart, Chia-Jen Lo, Alex Sogard, Nick Tropeano, Jio Mier, Jon Singleton, Bobby Borchering, and George Springer.

Wait. That's...eight players. I thought you said there were seven players from each team.
I did. I don't know.
Update: Via What the Heck Bobby, we find that each team sends seven players and has an 8th on what is known as a Taxi Squad.

So who should we keep an eye on?
All of them, really, but obviously Cosart, Singleton, and Springer. I have a feeling that this AFL season is going to be pretty important for Mier. Sixteen of the 49 1st Round picks (Supplemental Round included) have seen time in the Majors. Mier, picked four selections ahead of Mike Trout, has yet to see Double-A.

How did they do this season?

Bobby Borchering: Acquired in the Chris Johnson trade, Borchering hit just .189/.275/.389 in 30 games (109 PAs) for Corpus down the stretch in 2012. He struck out 36 times in 109 PAs, but ten of his 18 hits were for extra-bases. He'll be 22 near the end of the month.

Jarred Cosart: The Clear Creek HS alum went 6-7 between Corpus (15 starts) and Oklahoma City (six appearances, five starts), throwing a combined 114.2IP, with a 3.30 ERA/1.40 WHIP. He struck out 92 batters and gave up just three homers to 501 batters faced. He also dealt with blister issues throughout the season.

Chia-Jen Lo: Lo will be 27 in April, so he needs to show some things. He only threw 30 IP this season, 11.0 with the GCL Astros and 19IP with Lancaster. In Lancaster he struck out 20 batters in 19IP, allowing just 14H/3ER. He's thrown 45IP since 2009. A good AFL and I wouldn't be surprised if he found his way to Houston in 2013.


Jio Mier: Hit .286/.385/.400 in 51 games - most of them for High-A Lancaster - with 34K:30BB in 220 PAs. Missed most of the season with a hamstring injury.

Jon Singleton: Singleton spent all of 2012 in Corpus, after coming over in 2011 as part of the Hunter Pence trade with the Phillies. Singleton hit .284/.396/.497, with 131K:88BB in 555 PAs, and only grounded into six double plays in 2012. Fifty-two of his 131 hits for Corpus were for extra-bases. Has an outside chance to win an Opening Day spot out of Spring Training.


Alex Sogard: 26th Round pick in the 2010 draft, Sogard threw 69.2IP in 2012, converting to a full-time reliever. Between Lancaster (16IP) and Corpus (53.2IP), Sogard allowed a 3.62 ERA/1.51 WHIP, striking out 52 batters and walking 33. His numbers took a hit at Double-A, with 35K:25BB in 53.2IP and a 1.58 WHIP.

George Springer: The latest version of The Truth for the Astros, Springer was Ed Wade's final first-round pick. He hit .302/.383/.526 in 128 games between Lancaster and Corpus, but struck out an alarming 156 times in 581 plate appearances (including 25K in 81PAs at Corpus). Fifty-five of his 137 hits at Lancaster were for extra-bases, including 10 triples, and 32 stolen bases.

Nick Tropeano: My man-crush on Tropeano aside, I wouldn't be surprised to see him in Houston at some point in 2013, either. Tropeano spent most of 2012 at Lancaster, and managed to keep his ERA at 3.31, with a 1.32 WHIP. He struck out 69 batters in 70.2IP, and only walked 21 of the 299 batters he faced.

When do they start playing?
Today (Tuesday, October 9). Jarred Cosart gets the start for Mesa against Salt River, who has excellent steaks. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

We Are Your Astros: Update

If you haven't yet, go back and read this post from Saturday evening.

I still stand behind what I wrote, but I want to provide an update.

Kathleen and I were able to talk for a little over half an hour this evening. While I'm not able to pass along many of the details, the bottom line is that the Astros organization has heard the fans and is taking what I feel are appreciable steps towards addressing the most glaring concerns. Change is difficult and mistakes have been made, but hopefully things will get back on track soon. 

Also, be prepared for a couple more interesting reveals from the club on a couple of topics very soon.