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.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Barnes Enjoying Playing in the Outback

Brandon Barnes is playing ball this winter in Australia for the Blue Sox of the Australian Baseball League. He has had very good games lately.  It all started on Wednesday when he went 3 for 5 with two doubles.  Then Thursday, he went 3 for 5 with a double and two home runs.  The big hit being a three run homer in the top of the 9th to win the game.  Then Friday , he   again went 3 for 5 but with only one extra base hit, a two run HR, but he had four RBI on the day.  That makes him 9 for his last 15 with three doubles, three HR and a 11 RBI.

Maybe most encouraging is the fact that he has only struck out 6 times in 38 at bats.  I know it is a small sample but he struck out 111 times in 423 at bats between AA & AAA last season.  Hope this trend continues for the rest of the ABL season and into spring training.  Maybe he will need to start eating at Outback for pregame meals.

By the way, Jayne over at What the heck, Bobby? is doing a great job of tracking all the Astros farm hands off season activities.  She has cumulative stats for all of the former G-Stros posted on her site and gives daily game reports.

Altuve Wraps Up Good Season In LVBP

I saw on twitter earlier today that Jose Altuve was not going to be playing for Magallanes during the round robin playoffs in Venezuela.  By the way it look like he will be placed on the roster by Elvis Andrus.

Altuve had a very good off season in the LVBP.  He finished tied for second with an average of .339, despite fading a bit down the stretch.  He only hit .211 for his final 10 games.

He had 82 hits.  It is only the 3rd time in 28 years that some one had 82 or more hits in a LVBP season.  He hit 18 doubles which placed him third in the season rankings and his 110 total bases was good for fourth place. His 35 RBI tied him for sixth place and his 32 runs scored also put him in sixth.  Finally, the 10 stolen bases he amassed was the fourth most of any player in the LVBP. 

When you combine this performance with what he did in the minors and what he did after his big league call up; you get a .344 batting average (282 Hits in 820 AB).  2011 was indeed a very good year for Jose Altuve. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Five 2004 G-Stros on the Move this Off Season

This is a busy time of the year and if you are a baseball player, off season can often mean moving time.  Here are some moves I have tweeted about but you might not have seen so I will put them all in one place for your convenience.

We will start with today's news: J. R. Towles (2004) has signed a minor league deal with the Twins. He has been invited to spring training. 

Juan Gutierrez (2004) was signed by the KC Royals to a minor league contract.  He is still rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and will not be ready for spring training.

Jordan Parraz (2004) has signed a minor league deal with the Braves.  He has been invited to spring training.

Wlad Sutil (2004) has signed a minor league deal with the D-Backs.
and not playing but still in baseball....

Beau Torbert (2004) is now the hitting coach for the Lincoln Saltdogs of the American Association (independent).

Thursday, December 8, 2011

New GM and the Short Season

When I saw early this morning that the Astros had hired Jeff Luhnow to be their new GM, I was excited.  His player development experience with the Cardinals is his main calling card.  I have seen the rise in the Johnson City Cardinals over the last few years.

Maybe we can get a glimpse of what to expect by looking at the progress of the Cardinal short season teams.  The Cardinals and Astros both have three short season teams in the United States.  Both have a GCL team, as well as a team in the Appy & NYPL. 

Luhnow took over his role in player development in the fall of 2003.  So lets go back to 2004 and see how each team has fared and what kind of MLB level production has been created. (Players listed don't include rehab stints)

GCL Cards - 2007 to present
2007 - finished in 3rd place with a 24-30 record.  Players with MLB time on roster - 3 (Eduardo Sanchez, Tony Cruz, Pete Kozma).
2008 - finished 17-38 and in last place.
2009 - finished in 3rd with a 25-31 record.
2010 - finished 28-28 and in 3rd place again.
2011 - finished in 2nd with a 31-24 record.

Johnson City Cardinals - Appy League

2004 - posted a 33-35 record and finished 3rd in the Appy West.  Players with MLB time on roster - 1 (Mark Worrell)
2005 - posted a 28 -39 record and finished 5th in the west.  Players with MLB time on roster - 3 (Colby Rasmus, Bryan Anderson, & Daniel Barone.
2006 - posted a 34-34 record and finished 5th again.  Players with MLB time on roster 3 (Brandon Dickson, Luke Gregorson, Kyle McClellan).
2007 - posted a 28-40 record and finished 3rd in the west.  Players with MLB time on roster - 5 (Adron Chambers, Tony Cruz, Pete Kozma, Brian Brodrick, and Eduardo Sanchez).
2008 - posted a 36-30 record and finished 2nd.  Players with MLB time on roster - 1 (David Carpenter - yes the one on the Astros).
2009 - posted a 37-30 record and again finished 2nd.
2010 - eked out a one game lead over the E-Twins for the West pennant with a 42-24 record.
2011 - claimed back to back Appy titles with a 45-23 record.  

New Jersey Cardinals/ State College Spikes/ Batvia Muckdogs Cardinals - NYPL

2004 - finished 2nd in their division with a 41-34 record.  Players with MLB time on roster - 5 - (Joe Mather, Jarett Hoffpauir, Dennis Dove, Cory Doyne, & Mike Parisi)
2005 - finished 4th in their division with a 37-39 record.  Players with MLB time on roster - 3 (Tyler Greene, Mitchell Boggs, Blake Hawksworth).
2006 -  finished 4th in their division with a 39-36 record.  Players with MLB time on roster - 7 (David Carpenter, Allen Craig, Mark Hamilton, Brendan Ryan, Luke Gregerson, Jason Motte, Adam Ottavino & P. J. Walters)
2007 - finished 31-47 and in 5th place.  Players with MLB time - 9 (Andrew Brown, David Carpenter, Tony Cruz, Daniel Descalso, Steven Hill, Pete Kozma, Brian Broderick, Clayton Mortenson, & Jess Todd)
2008 - finished in first in their division with a 46-28 record.  Players with MLB time on roster - 1 (Lance Lynn)
2009 - finished 4th in their division with a 37-39 record.  Players with MLB time on roster - 1 (Matt Carpenter).
2010 - won their division with a 45-29 record. 
2011 - finished 4th in their division with a 37-38 record.

Since 2004, the Cardinals short season teams have produced 34 players who have seen time on MLB rosters.  Fourteen of those players are on the 40 man roster for the Cards.

During that same time frame, the Astros have produced 21 players who have donned a MLB uniform.  Nine of those players currently grace the Astros 40 man roster.

This gives some hope that he can build a farm system.  Since the Astros have just leveled their system a few years ago and have laid what appears to be a good foundation, I expect we will see results at a faster pace than his time with the Cardinals showed.  Time will tell.