Welcome to Appy Astros, a blog dedicated to following current & former Greeneville Astros, the Appalachian League affiliate of the Houston Astros. Here you will find reports on current G-Stros, updates on the development of former G-Stros and occasionally an update on what has happened to the guys who have hung up their spikes.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Season Recap - The Bullpen

Here is the final installment for the 2010 Season Recap. Let's look at the lovable guys who sit down the right field line at Pioneer Park and try to lure unsuspecting kids into trying to drop a quarter into a cup for a scuffed up game ball. If a single ball is not enough, do it 3 times and you can get a broken bat. If these guys don't have a future in baseball, they might have a future in business or at least on the carnival circuit.

We will list the players by number of game appearances. I think you will notice a much older group of guys than when we looked at the other players.

The guys who were released (B. J. Hagan), promoted (Jack Frawly), demoted (Andrea Lucati) or signed too late in the year (Rodney Quintero) and didn't have more than a handful of appearances are not addressed here.

Ryan Cole appeared in 22 games out of the pen. He had a streak of 8 straight scoreless outings than spanned 12 2/3 IP and had 14 appearances where he didn't give up an earned run. He finished with a season ERA of 2.83 and 2 saves. He had the best WHIP among closers (1.06). His walk totals look high at eight in 35 IP but 4 of those were intentional passes. So 4 in 35 innings is a much truer picture of his control. With his age and his performance, I could see him in the pen in Lexington next season.

Garrett Bullock the lefty NDFA out of Wake Forest repeated at Greeneville this year and showed marked improvement. He lead the bullpen with 41 IP in 21 appearances. He was often the first guy out of the pen, but he did garner two saves. In 16 of his 21 appearances, he didn't allow an earned run. Bullock is able to keep runners close with an excellent pick off move that he refined to reduce the balks called on him. Bullock was too old for the Appy at 24. He was promoted to Tri Cities at the end of the season but didn't get to pitch. With his age, being a lefty with a good pick off move and his ability to keep the ball down (no home runs in a combined 62 1/3 IP for his career, I could see him landing in Lancaster next season but Lexington might be more likely.

Philip Rorabaugh is another NDFA who is in his second pro year. He pitched in the GCL in 09 and at 23 was at the top end of the age for the Appy League. Rorabaugh started the year okay but struggled with a rough stretch in July and 2 bad outings in August that left him with a 4.91 ERA for the year in his 21 appearances. If Rorabaugh is with the organization next season, he will likely be in Tri Cities for some additional depth.

Brian Streilein made his pro debut in Greeneville this year. The big righty appeared in 20 games covering 32 IP and was second on the team with 5 saves. He too had a large number of his walks accounted for with intentional passes (4 out of 8). Streilein was the closer at the end of the season and earned a brief appearance in Tri Cities. At 22 next season, I could see Streilein in Tri Cities working the late innings out of the pen.

Travis Smink returned to Pioneer Park this year and showed improvement. He was the closer to start the season. He got 5 saves out of his first 6 outings. There doesn't appear to be a reason why he stopped getting save opportunities as he continued to be effective through the end of July, giving up just 3 ER in 151/3 IP. But maybe the Astros coaching staff could see something we couldn't because in August, Smink struggled. After posting a 2.25 ERA in 9 outings in July, he put up a 5. 02 ERA in his 7 August outings. For the year, he finished with a 3.34 ERA and 6 saves. Look for Smink to be in Lexington next season.

Jeiler Castillo started the year on the Tri Cities roster but was sent back for his third year with the G-Stros shortly after the season began. He was a solid arm out of the pen pulling two 4 inning stints in long relief. He also spot started 2 games and closed out 4, getting the save in 1 of those. Heading into August, Castillo was putting together a solid season. Then the wheels came off starting on August 11th. Over his next 4 outings, he gave up 9 earned runs in just 3 innings pitched. His ERA for July had been 2.25 and for August it was 8.71. Castillo will turn 23 this off season, I expect him to be in Lexington if he is with the organization next year. Three seasons of short season ball should be sufficient.

Paul Gerrish started his pro career in Greeneville. The former Horned Frog, appeared in 14 games for the G-Stros with mixed results. He finished 6 games and got the save in 1 of those. He held opponents to no earned runs in half of his appearances. He finished with an ERA of 4.56 but he had good control numbers (4 walks in 23 2/3 IP- 1 IBB) and only 2 of the 32 hits he surrendered were doubles or homers. Of the 19 runs he surrendered 7 were unearned. I am not sure if he was more unlucky or ineffective. He finished the year with a great outing, facing the minimum in 3 1/3 IP while striking out 4. He is already 24 so his age is a factor here. Based on his numbers and his age, I expect him to be in Lexington next year.

Jamaine Cotton took the long way to get the Greeneville. He is from St. Thomas, VI but went to college at Western Oklahoma State. This was his second straight year to be drafted (Giants in 09) and the Astros were able to sign him as their 15th pick. Apparently, Jamaine is a man of few words and is still learning the art of pitching. He only appeared in 13 games accounting for only 14 IP. He didn't meet much success. The only exciting stat is that he had more than one strike out per inning. However, he got hit (28 in 14 IP) and hard too (3 HR). He also struggled with control (7 BB & 3 WP). He had already pitched over 60 innings when he got to Greeneville so we don't know how tired he was, that might be a factor here. Jarmaine will probably get a second year in Greeneville.

Justin Harper was the 17th pick of the 2009 draft by the Astros. He had been selected before (Marlins 31st round 07, Yankees 37th round 08) so there is something scouts like when they see Harper pitch. He made 11 appearances in Greeneville totaling all of 18 innings pitched. He only got 6 innings pitched in 2009. So we have a 2 year vet with only 24 IP. Not much of a sample to make much of an assessment. Especially when you consider that 7 of his 10 earned runs occurred in his first three outings. He will be 22 when the season opens next year. I expect he will return to Tri Cities to show continued improvement and to get a full short season of work in.

Assessment None of these guys jump out and scream top prospect. Most will probably be roster fillers for their careers but you never can tell when someone puts it all together and makes it to the show. All of these guys have a long road ahead of them to get to the show, but we are pulling for them to make it.

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