J. R. Towles, one of the most popular players to ever wear the GreenEville Astros uniform was removed from the Houston Astros 40 man roster yesterday. He will become a free agent as soon as the World Series ends. Towles could resign with the Astros as a non roster invitee to spring training but I would expect he would test other teams interest before that occurs.
That transaction means that, along with Wlad Sutil's pending minor league free agency, that no members for the 2004 GreenEville Astros remain in the Astros organization.
Here are the 2004 players who remained in affiliated ball this year:
Jordan Parraz - AAA for the NY Yankees - hit .289 with an OPS of .802.Left Astros organization via trade with the Royals for Tyler Lumsden.
Neil Sellers - AA for the Marlins - hit .176 in just 59 games for New Orleans. At age 29, his dream of making the big leagues might be about out. Left the Astros in the 2007 Rule 5 draft.
Wlad Sutil - AA/AAA for Houston - hit combined .269 for the year. His .284 average and solid glove in AA earned him a promotion to AAA where he hit just .222. Doubled his career HR total with two round trippers this year. Will be a free agent after the World Series.
J. R. Towles - AAA/MLB for Houston - hit .276 in 35 games in the minors, but just hit .184 in 54 games in the majors. Will be a free agent after the World Series.
Douglas Arguello - AAA for Houston and Texas - Arguello was
released by Houston after amassing a 3.67 ERA in 31 games. Texas picked
him up for two appearances in September.
Jimmy Barthmaier - AA for the Pirates - was 5-3 with a 5.05 ERA in 39 games. Had 69 strikeouts in 67 2/3 IP. Marked the first time he had more K's than IP in his pro career. Was signed by the Pirates after Houston released him following the 2007 season.
Juan Gutierrez - MLB for D-Backs - Missed most of the season with shoulder trouble. He was released yesterday by the D-Backs. He left the Houston organization as a part of the Valverde trade in 2007.
Troy Patton - AAA/MLB for Baltimore - bounced back and forth between AAA & the Baltimore pen. He had a 1.83 ERA in Norfolk and a 3.00 ERA in Baltimore. He was a part of the Miguel Tejada trade after the 2007 season.
Felipe Paulino - MLB for Colorado & Kansas City - He has a rough start to 2011 in Colorado. He was 0-4 with a 7.36 ERA in his first 18 games. After a trade to Kansas City, he had a solid showing. For the Royals, he was 4-6 with a respectable 4.11 ERA. He was traded to Colorado prior to the 2011 season for Clint Barmes.
So nine players from the 2004 G-Stros were still playing affiliated baseball this year. Looking at the reason for leaving, most were a part of a trade to help the big club. This serves as a reminder that prospects can help the club in more ways than in making it to the big club.