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, August 30, 2010

GCL - Past, Present & Future

The Gulf Coast League has just finished up its season. Now we get to start looking at where some of them will land next year. To prepare for looking at where they may be headed, let’s look at what happened to last years GCL Astros. Out of last years GCL Astros roster of players who played more than a handful of games, here is where they landed with a few players from each group highlighted.

Traded (1 – 3%)
Luis Bryan to Marlins in the Lindstrum. He started the season in the NYPENN League but was sent back to the GCL and has struggled.

Repeat of GCL (9 – 26%)
Jose Vargas – Repeated the league but changed positions from C to RF. The 19 year old saw his playing time increase but his numbers decreased. One silver lining is that he reduced his K rate significantly.

Ronald Sanchez – The 16th round pick of the 2009 draft out of Puerto Rico has not made the progress that would be expected. His numbers went backwards this year. He turned 19 earlier this month. So he is still young.

Garen Wright – The 29th round pick of the 2009 draft made progress repeating this year. He raised his batting average 46 points and his OPS .69 points. I expect to see him in Greeneville next year.

Mark Jones – The 22nd round draft pick of 09 repeated the GCL this year. He showed some improvement and spent more time as a starter.

Promoted to Greeneville (8 - 24%)

Telvin Nash – Made the move up to Greeneville and has be patrolling left field for the G-Stros. At times, it has been an adventure. The plate is where he is making news. After hitting only 1 HR in 142 AB, he has 11 in 189 so far this season. He is still striking out about one every three at bats, but his OPS jumped .250 points this season. He was named the Greeneville MVP at the game Sunday night.

Euris Quizada – El Grande is a late bloomer. Not signed until before the 09 season, he was sent straight state side to the GCL. This year, he has been a back of the rotation started for the G-Stros. He improved his ERA from almost seven down to just barely over six, but APPY league batters hit .315 while facing him.

Garrett Bullock – The 24 year old NDFA has flourished in Greeneville this season. The tall lefty with a good pick off move has combined better strike out numbers and much better control to put up a solid 1.26 ERA through 43 IP.

Promoted to Tri Cities (2 – 6%)

Enrique Hernadez – Made his debut in the NYPENN League as an 18 year old. Hit .280 in 60 games.

Jack Frawley – The 24 year old NDFA started the 2010 campaign in Greeneville but was sent up to Tri Cities after just 5 appearances. He has since made 6 in Tri Cities. His combined ERA for the year is 3.00.

Promoted to Lexington (4 – 12%)
Kody Hinze – Started 2010 where he started 2009, in Lexington. This time, he has added .100 to his batting average and shown more pop. After a hot start, he is currently at .275 with 44 extra base hits out of 118 hits. He turned 23 during the season.

Juan Minaya – Jumped from the lowest level of state side ball in 09 to full season ball in 2010. He has struggled with his control as a 20 year old in Lexington. He has walked 71 batters in 119 2/3 innings thus far. Batters are only hitting .240 against him.

Tanner Bushue – The second round pick from 09 jumped to full season ball and has stuck there. He has wrapped up a solid August with a 2.64 ERA.

Michael Schurz – The 44th round pick from 09 started the season in Lex and then jumped to Lancaster for a taste of pitching torment. Since returning to Lex, he has kept his ERA just under a touchdown.

Released (10 – 29%)

Jan Baldee – the Dutch SS experiment was a failure. When your batting average over two seasons doesn’t add up to .100, you know you are going to be released.

Back To The Future

So now who do I think could make the move this year. Any of the projections here are likely to be impacted by the draft, and any prospects picked up in trades. Let’s see who the crystal ball says we should keep an eye on for next year.


Chan Moon - The 19 year old from South Korea didn’t hit much but will likely still earn a promotion to Greeneville next year.

Jose Monzon – The 18 year old from Venezuela showed hit .250 for the season with 9 extra base hits (3 HR). He showed good speed too swiping 9 bases in 14 tries. He finished the season strong hitting .381 over the last 6 games but didn’t play after 8/7. Looks like a strong candidate for Greeneville.

Joshua McGee – Hit in the .260s all season before slumping at the end and brining his average down to .227 on the season. He only struck out 15 times in the first 98 AB and then fanned 20 in his last 78. McGee was the 18th pick in the 2010 draft. Another strong candidate for Greeneville.

Matison Smith - The NDFA from Texas turned 22 during the season. He didn’t strike out a bunch and gave up almost a hit per inning pitched; but he managed to keep his ERA at 1.59. I look for him to be in Greeneville next season.

Mark Jones – The 6’ 7” righty faded at the end of the season. His ERA after the month of July was 2.50. He finished the season with a 3.91 ERA. Control must improve for success at the next level. I would like to see him in Greeneville next year.

Tri Cities (or where ever we have a SS A team next year)

Jordan Scott – The lefty hitting OF finished the year with a .301 average and had hit .385 in his last 10 games. Only 33 K in 146 AB. Scott was the 14th round pick of the 2010 draft. I expect to see him in Tri Cities if he continues this pattern of play in Instructs and Spring Training next year.

Ryan Ditthardt - The 22 year old NDFA hit a solid .274, low strike outs but not much power. He will likely jump to Tri Cities next year.

Ebert Rosario – The former 3rd baseman is now a pitcher. He made a few appearances at the end of the season. Had 12 K’s in 10 2/3 IP. I expect he will be in Tri Cities to start the year next year.


Juri Perez – Coming back from an elbow injury, Perez had 6 outings at the end of the season. He had one bad outing where he allowed 4 runs in 1/3 of an inning. The rest of the time, he allowed just 1 run in 8 innings. If he is healthy, I could see him jump to Lexington to start 2011.

Dieudone Paul - The 22 year old lefty from Haiti will likely make a significant jump based on his 13 outings this season. I would expect him to at least be in Tri Cities next season and I wouldn’t rule out a jump to Lexington.

Jose Perdomo – The 18 year old from Venezuela fanned 63 batters in 55 1/3 IP. He made 11 starts during the year, and finished with a 4-2 record and a super impressive 1.62 ERA. He might jump straight to Lexington.

Feel free to post your ideas of where theses guys might wind up in the comment section

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Game Report: Tuesday 8/24/10

The good:

The game as started by Delino DeShields placing a single to center. He goes to second on a pass ball before Jonathon Merritt reaches 1st on a walk. Medrano fails to move the runners over. Nash walks to load the bases. Valenzuela reaches on an epic fail error by the P-Rays. It was a pop up behind second that hit the heal of the short stops glove and fell to the ground. If Nash is running hard on the play, he might have scored from first. That gives you an idea as to how high of a pop this was.

Travis Smink was pressed into service after Velasquez left the game (more on that below). He pitched from a survival mode it appeared. He was benefited in the 6th inning by his catcher. Roberto Pena gunned one runner out at second with a strike'em out throw'em out double play. Later in the inning, with a runner on second, Pena lets the ball get by him and the runner advances. He rounds the bag and Pena throws behind the runner and butter him, because he was toast. Pena has an arm and a half.

Greeneville's pitching staff pitched out of several jams. The P-Rays were 0-8 with RISP. Last night, they were 0-10. They had the lead off hitter on base in 3 innings and none of them scored.

Hector Rodriquez reached on a single to extend his hitting streak to 5 games.

The Bad

I made the comment to a friend at the game, the best Greeneville players weren't wearing our unis. One of these "best players" was the P-Rays SS. The other was the field ump. He struggled but not of his struggles hurt Greeneville.

Vincent Velasquez left the game in the middle of an at bat due to a "crunching" sound in his elbow. Not sure of any diagnosis but word was it is more likely to be bone related (spur, loose body) than to be ligament related.

DeShields picked up another error on a routine play. He was coming in on a single and pulled up and left the ball on the turf allowing the runner to advance from 1st to 2nd. It is the second game of the three I have seen him play where this has happened.

Overall, Greeneville did what it needed to win. It got some outside help from a few missed calls and a big two out error.

Game Report: Monday 8/23/10

Went to the game at Pioneer Park on 8/23 where G-stros lost to the Princeton Rays 4-3 in 12 innings.

The Good:

Telvin Nash hit the ball good tonight. The strong left fielder went 3 for 5 with a towering home run to center. I would estimate it was hit over 420. It was crushed. He also showed good bat control pushing a single through the right side once. Nash also prevented a double play with a nice take out slide.

Garrett Bullock came in to the game from the pen in the 9th with the go ahead run on 2nd. He got a ground out to third and two K's. He ended up pitching a total of 3 innings with 4 Ks. He has not allowed an earned run in 16 of his 19 outings this year. He has only walked 3 batters in the month of August (17 1/3 IP). He does give up a fair number of hits but his move and pitching motion keeps base runners honest. Add to that a good ground ball ratio and you can see why he is being successful. However, he is ancient for the league. He is already 24.

Delino DeShields Jr. hit the ball hard. In fact, two of his outs were hit harder than one of his hits. That's baseball. He went 2 for 5 with a walk and a K. He faced 3 different lefties on the night.

Emilio King showed off his arm in RF. He had two outfield assist last night.

The not so good:

Emili King work the golden sombrero.

This game featured several ugly plays. One benefited the home team and one did not. In the top of the first, Jhonny Medrano on 2nd after a solid two out double, tries to steal third. The throw is of the mark and goes into left field. Medrano scores the first run of the game.

In the 5th, with the G-stros already down by one; the P-Rays had runners on the corners with 2 out. The runner at first tries to steal second. The throw by Mojica goes into center field, and the runner on third trots home.

The catchers accounted for all 5 errors in the game. Add two that one passed ball charged to Mojica and another that was counted as a wild pitch that should have been a passed ball (imo).

Overall, the night was lost by the offense. Pitchers kept getting in and out of trouble but they kept the run total low. The offense just couldn't generate the runs.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Looking to Next Year: DSL Wrap Up

The Dominican Summer League is wrapping up this Saturday. Here are a few players that I expect to make their state side debut next year. Most, if not all, will head to the Gulf Coast League, but some may jump to the G-Stros and I feel it is always good to know some names to be watching.

3 Position Players
Luis De La Rosa - OF - Will turn 19 in January. His average has climbed to .280 for the season but has hit .312 for July & August. He doesn't show much power but has moved to the outfield after being signed as a SS in 2008.

Yonathon Mejia - 2B - Will turn 18 in September. He was signed last year to a signing bonus of 370K. He started hot in May & June but has hit under .200 in July & August. He was a 2010 Mid Season All Star in the DSL.

Fredwin Campusuno - 3b - Has not played but one game since the All Star Break. So I am assuming, there is an injury here. Before he was hurt, he put up a .330 batting average. Way up from his .222 last year.

3 Pitchers
Francisco Baso - RHP - Has improved every year of pro ball. He will be 20 when the season starts next year. He has dominated the league this year. He has been a DSL Mid Season All Star the last two years. He has never started a game but has pitched as much as 5 innings in some outings. In his last 10 outings, he has only given up a run 1 time.

Jose Montero - RHP - The 17 year old started his pro career this season after signing for a bonus of 350K. He has started 12 games and has an ERA of 2.15. He has fanned 46 batters in 54 1/3 IP. Expect for him to be in the GCL next year but he is a name to watch for the future.

Michael Feliz - RHP - Feliz was originally signed by the A's but tested positive for a banned substance. They voided their 800K contract with him. The Astros took a 1/2 price offer on him and he had to sit out the first 50 games. Since he has come off suspension, he has pitched in 3 games. His ERA in those three games is 4.26 but really he only had one bad inning. He has K'd 13 in 12 2/3, while walking only 3. Seeing as how he is only 16, it might be a stretch to see him stateside but I wouldn't be surprised to see him in the GCL when the season begins.

Monday, August 16, 2010

What's He Up To: Jordan Lyles

Let's talk about the fastest moving former G-Stro. Jordan Lyles appeared in Greeneville in 2008 as a 17 year old kid. He had been the 38th pick in the 2008 Draft and had spurned Spurrier and the Gamecocks football scholarship offer in order to start his pro baseball career. His draft created a bit of a stir in baseball circles. He was called "a reach" by more than one draft expert. Stats don't mean a great deal in Rookie Ball but the one number that jumped out from his 2008 season was 64 K in 50 IP. His performance got noticed.

This is what Baseball America said about him after the season.
Lyles was considered an overdraft when the Astros took him 38th overall, but he sure didn't pitch like it. Athleticism and a clean, easy delivery were among his strongest traits as an amateur, and Appy League observers concurred. His fastball sat at 88-92 mph, and though it doesn't feature much life, Lyles commands it well for a young hurler. His 6-foot-4, 185-pound frame leaves plenty of room to project more velocity.

In 2009, Jordan spent his whole season in Lexington. Despite a losing record, his pitching performance continued to shake the overdraft status. Now, the Astros were looking brilliant for drafting him. As a result of his 2009 performance, Lyles was listed on several top 100 prospect list at the end of the year.

This year, Jordan started the season at AA Corpus Christi, skipping High A Lancaster. Initially, this was viewed by some as a move to keep him out of the hitter friendly California League. Again, Jordan's performance put all questions aside. He proved he not only belonged in the Texas League as a teen, he showed he could be one of the best pitchers in the league. He is listed in the top 10 in best ERA, Strikeouts and WHIP.

Last week, Jordan was promoted to AAA Round Rock. He pitched well in his first start but suffered the loss. He will make his second start tonight. There has been some buzz about him possibly getting a September call up to the Astros. Keep in mind that he he won't turn 20 until October. IF (and that is a big if in my mind) he is called up to Houston for the last month of the season, he will be the first teenager to pitch in the National League since Dwight Gooden way back in 1984 or six years before Lyles was born.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Game Report 8/14/10 @ Johnson City

The Astros are on a long road trip right now. Actually, it is more of a commute trip. They are in the middle of a 3 game series with Johnson City & then have a 3 game with Elizabethton. Both of these are within an hours drive of Greeneville so they travel back in forth on game day. They follow the 6 commute games with an off day and then a trip to Danville, which is one of the furtherest points from Greeneville in the the Appy.

Seeing I wouldn't have a chance to see DeShields play for a week after he arrived, I decided to travel to Johnson City last night and see him and the Astros. It was an odd game. This team has had a great deal of change in the last few days and they are still trying to get their feet under them.

On Deshields at bats:

1st at bat was a medium pop up down the third baseline in foul territory handled by the shortstop. Appeared alittle anxious in the box.

2nd at bat was a soft pop up to second base. DeShields stopped running about a 1/3 of the way down the line.

3rd at bat he was greeted by a curve for a strike, a called strike to on the edge and then a swinging strike three. This was the 3rd out in the inning. He was still slowly walking back to the 1st base dugout when the 3rd base coach reached the 1st base line. Some frustration appeared to be showing.

4th at bat he goes deeper in the count but strikes out swinging again.

5th at bat, he had two strikes on him and tried to fight off a pitch that was a bit high. He didn't get a good swing on it and flew out to left center.

Overall assessment: He is now 1 for 9 in the Appy. it doesn't appear that he is used to struggling. How he handles this will tell us a great deal about young Mr. DeShields. Not impressed with his body language after bad at bats.

DeShields in the field. He had several chances on the night. He took very good routes to balls. Johnson City has an odd shaped stadium. It has a berm in right field from the line to center field and right & left join in corner. Center is 430 feet away from the plate. This picture gives you some idea of the odd nature of the outfield there.

He handled routine liners and flies okay. No drama there. He made two nice plays on balls hit hard to the wall. One was over his head in the corner. He played the ball well, hit the cutoff man and had the catcher held on to in, would have had the gut at home. The second was a sharply hit ball to left center. He made a slightly looping approach to be able to field the ball and have the right angle to throw to second. He made a good throw and the tag was applied for an out.

One play I thought he tried to do too much. It was a fly ball where he and the left fielder converged. The left fielder called for it initially but DeShields called him off. He had to lunge for the ball and that momentum carried him toward left field. A runner was tagging from 3rd on the play and made it home easily as the throw was 15 feet up the 3rd base line. I thought it should have been the left fielders ball.

Late in the game, he made two gaffs. One was credited for an error and one was not. Both involved coming in to field balls that were rolling slowly and pulling the glove up too quickly and leaving the ball on the ground. The first came on a pick off play at 2nd that ended up in center. He missed the ball on the first time through but no harm as runners didn't advance. Later in the same inning, he came in on a ground ball, missed it and allowed runners to advance and was charged with an error.

Overall assessment of fielding. He showed some promise as a fielder. I can forgive errors of effort, as long as he is able to learn from them. I am not sure if the lapses late in the game were issues of focus or not but it will be something I watch later. I want to see him make routine plays well as well as the exceptional plays. Especially if they are planning to move him to 2nd base.

As you can tell, I am not gushing about what I saw. But in fairness to him, he is a 17 year old kid who has in the last week, signed a contract in Houston, travelled to Florida for a few games and then plopped in the Appy League with a pile of expectations. I know that comes with being a first round pick but let's give him a little time to get his feet under him before we judge too harshly.

Other observations:

Roberto Pena looked solid behind the plate. Quick release nailed a runner at second. Put the bat on the ball well most of the time.

Saw some nice productive outs from the bottom of the line up in the 4th. With a runner on second and no outs, King & Heradia both hit ground balls to the right side to move the runner around.

Jhonny Medrano had a rough night at 1st. The first error was on a ground ball to his right. He got there but took his eye off the ball and it hopped up his arm. The second as on a pop fly in the grass behind him. He got under it but muffed it. That put runners at 1st and 2nd with no one out. The next play resulted in his third error. A soft liner that he charged and caught but then tried to double the runner off second with a back handed throw. It was wild and resulted in runners advancing.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Rafael Valenzuala's Off Season Plans

Based on what his local paper says about Valenzuela, it looks like he may have some plans to play some ball this winter.

Valenzuela’s former high school coach O.J. Favela said his former standout was also the second pick in the Mexican draft, so when the Astros’ season ends the youngster will likely report to the Obregon Yaquis, which is more like Triple A quality ball, according to Favela.

A player cannot sign with both an American and Mexican team, but it is not uncommon for American teams to pay expenses for one of their players to get some extra work in Mexico’s winter league.

With Marcus Nidiffer being called up to Tri Cities today, I expect Valenzuela will get more time at first.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

What's He Up To: Beau Torbert

Wallace "Beau" Torbert was a member of the 2004 Greeneville Astros. He climbed all the way to AAA in the Astros' system before being released in 2007. He went to independent ball where he was then signed by the Tigers. He was released after spring training in 2008 and has been playing independent ball in the American Association ever since.

Beau is playing with the Sioux Fall Fighting Pheasants. He is dominating the league. As of today, he is leading the league in batting average (.390), hits (128), doubles (32), and RBI (87). He is second in slugging (.683) and HR (20). He has only made 2 errors in the field.

Last year, Beau was the MVP of the American Association.

Beau is 27 now. In baseball circles, that is considered your peak age. Here's hoping he gets picked up by an affiliated team soon and gets one more shot at the bigs.

On a side note, tied for fifth in the American Association for home runs is Beau's 04 teammate Ole Sheldon. Ole is playing for the St. Paul Saints.

If there any former Greeneville Astros you would like to know about, let me know and we will try to track them down.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Rodney Quintero, 25th round pick out of Chipola Junior College, has been assigned to Greeneville's roster. Here is how his JC coach describes him:

"Johnson said. “He’s got the arm strength. He’s an explosive, athletic pitcher, which you don’t see very often. He’s got explosive legs, a quick arm, and his fastball sneaks up on you. He can get it up to 95 (mph), but he could be guy you see throwing 97 or 98 at some point.

“It’s there, it’s just a matter of developing secondary pitches, gaining some confidence, and having some more success,” Johnson said. “But he’s got a chance to be a real guy.”

Here is a link to some youtube video of him striking out Bryce Harper in February. The only problem is you never see him in the frame, just Harper.

What's He Up To: Koby Clemens

Koby started his pro career back in 2005 with Greeneville. At that time, he was a 3rd baseman. Since that time, he has tried his hand at catcher & left field. This year, he was moved to 1st base while playing for the Corpus Christi Hooks of the Texas League (AA). He has done serviceable at 1st with 8 errors so far this year. The main reason for the movement is that they want to find a way to keep his bat in the line up.

As of 8/11/10, Koby is tied for 6th in runs scored. He has crossed the plate 61 times this year. 22 of those times were courtesy of home runs he hit. He is tied for the lead in the league in home runs (22) as well as in walks taken (58). He is in 5th place in total bases (181), slugging % (.508) and RBI (70). His .878 OPS is the 6th best in the league. On the not so good side, he is striking out about 1 time out of every 3 at bats. He has struck out 120 times, which is the second most strike outs in the league.

Koby won’t turn 24 until December. He is still slightly below the average age of the Texas League, which makes his numbers even more impressive.

So What Is This About?

Appy Astros is a fan blog, written by a fan. A fan who enjoys going to Pioneer Park and watching the Greeneville Astros play ball.

What Appy Astros is about

With this blog, you will get my observations about what I see when I go to the games. I am not a baseball expert. My career ended as a 9 year old when I went 1 for 13 with 12 strike outs. I am do not pretend to be a scout. When I say I like a player, I am saying I like his hustle, his attitude, and he appears, to my novice eye, to have some skill.

Updates on players who have played in Greeneville. This will include transactions, player reports, and links to news stories about them. This will include guys in the Houston System as well as those who may have moved on to other teams or are now playing indy ball. I hope at some point to be able to add a feature on life after baseball for some of those who have retired.

Draft coverage before the season starts. The draft populates the roster here in Greeneville. I will try to make you aware of relevant draft news.

With all that being said.....PLAY BALL