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.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Jay Austin Rebounds in AFL

Jay Austin, may have just ended the most significant season of his career. The 2011 Arizona Fall League.  One year ago, Austin had finished the Arizona Fall League with a paltry .156 and a .425 OPS in 12 games (52 AB).  Granted he was 20 at the time but that was still less than impressive.  Then he started the 2011 season where he had ended 2010, in Lancaster.  His numbers were about the same but growth wasn't happening as expected.  Towards the end of the 2011 season, he was demoted.  He was sent back to low A Lexington to finish the season.  There he played his last 32 games of the season, hitting just .203.  People who follow Astros minor league baseball started hearing comments appearing to indicate Austin's bat would never develop. 

Then he showed back up in Arizona.  What a difference a year makes.  This year in 11 games (45 AB) in the Arizona Fall League, Austin hit .311.  His OPS was a solid .829.  His defense also appears to have been boosted this year, making no errors after making two in 2010. 

I know this is a small sample size.  Yet, if Austin puts up a solid 2012, we can point to the 2011 AFL as the the turning point in his career. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Former G-Stros Released

Baseball America's minor league transactions released today showed the end of Astros careers for several former G-Stros.  Those whose releases were made public today include:

Garrett Bullock - Non drafted free agent out of Wake Forrest.  Played in Greeneville in 09, 10.
Joan Belliard - Right handed reliever from the Dominican Republic pitched in Greeneville in 09.
Mark Jones- 22nd round pick in 2009 out of Lancaster, PA.  Pitched in Greeneville in 2011.
Travis Smink  - 31st round pick from 2009 out of VMI.  He pitched in Greeneville in 09, 10.
Ronald Sanchez - 16th round draft pick from 2009 out of Caguas PR.  He played in Greenville in 2011.
Miguel Arrendell- Utilitiy infielder from the Dominican Republic played in Greeneville in 2009.
Danilo Del Rio - Right handed releaver out of Cartagena, Columbia pitched in Greeneville in 2011.

Best of luck to these gentlemen.

Baseball American Ranks 3 Former G-Stros in Top 10

Baseball America released their Top 10 Astros prospects for 2011 today.  While those prospects acquired in trades make up over half of the list, former G-Stros still appear on the list. They represent three of the four players on the list drafted by the Astros.

Number eight on the list is Delino DeShields Jr..  He was also mentioned as the fastest base runner in the system.

Number nine on the list is Mike Foltyenwicz. 

Number 10 on the list is Telvin Nash. 

The list of best tools in the system included former Greeneville catcher Roberto Pena as the best defensive catcher in the system. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Summary of Progress Reports

Here is the summary of the year by year account of the progress of the players still in affiliated ball with links to the year's write up.  This numbers do not reflect any releases since the season ended.

Active Players in Affiliated Ball in 2011
2004 - 24% (9 out of 37)
2005 - 20% (7 out of 35) Tim Pupura's first draft as GM
2006 - 19% (6 out of 31)
2007 - 13% (5 out of 38)
2008 - 58% (22 out of 38) Ed Wade's first draft as GM (also Bobby Heck's first class)
2009 - 66% (22 out of 35) GCL Astros 1st season
2010 - 66% (26 out of 39)

2010 Greeneville Astros Progress Reports

This wraps up the progress reports of former G-Stros for this off season.  It's only been a year but lets look at the progress made by the 2010 G-Stros.  Thirty nine players spent time in Greeneville playing in 2010.  Twenty six of those players were playing affiliated ball in 2011 for 66%.

Let's look at how high they climbed.  They are listed by the highest level they appeared in and the percentage by each level is out of the full roster.

AA (1 - 3%)

Chris Wallace started the year in Low A Lexington but was double promoted to AA Corpus Christi to finish out the year.  With him turning 23 years of age in April and him having solid success in Lexington, it was not surprising the Astros challenged him by putting him on a fast track.  Wallace hit .244 in 36 games in AA.  he also found out that base runners were better there.  He only threw out 10% of attempted stolen bases.  Wallace spent part of the fall in instructionals.

High A (2 - 5%)

Bryce Lane  spent most of the season in Lexington but did appear in Lancaster for five games during the year.  He was hit less during his stint in Lancaster and hit .222 in 67 games in Lexington. He will be 22 when spring training begins.

Hector Rodriguez bounced around three levels this year.  He started in Lancaster, then was sent to Tri Cities and finished the year in Lexington.  He never got much consistent playing time in those stops appearing in only 35 games through the year.  He combined to hit just .163 on the season. He will be 22 when spring training rolls around.

Low A (13- 33%)

Ruben Alaniz had an inconsistent year in Lexington.  He had a rough April, sporting a 8.78 ERA after the first month of the season. However in June, he sported a solid 2.28 ERA.  Overall, he finished with a 4.44 ERA in 27 games (21 starts).  He fanned 96 batters in 115 2/3 innings pitched.  He gave up 11 home runs, with only four in the second half of the season.  He earned an invite to instructionals.  Alaniz will be 20 when he reports to spring training. 

Garrett Bullock  see 2009 write up.

Jeiler Castillo  see 2008 write up.

Delino Deshields Jr. only appeared in 16 games in 2010 for Greeneville.  However, he was impressive in those games as just a 17 year old.  This year, as he continued to make the transition to becoming a second baseman, he struggled in the first half of the year hitting just .197 before the All Star break.  DeShields had a great July (.320) and finished the second half of the season with a respectable .242 average.  His power dropped in the second half but his on base percentage climbed.  All promising signs for a young man who won't turn 20 until next August. He got a bit of extra work in this fall in instructionals.

Mike Foltynewicz appeared to run out of gas as the long Sally League season of bus trips ground to an end.  After keeping his ERA in the upper three and low four range for May, June & July; it jumped to the seven and eight range for August and September.  He was on the instructional league roster. He is still seen as a top prospect and will just be 20 when next season begins.

Gabriel Garcia pitched out of the pen in 31 games for the Legends.  Garcia struck out 68 batters in 69 1/3 innings pitched.  His ERA was 3.76 on the season.  He is pitching in his home country for Winter Ball and through his first 11 appearances in the Dominican League, he is sporting a 2.84 ERA.  He will still be 22 when next season rolls around.

Emilio King had a break out year in Lexington.  In Greeneville, he showed good defense with a great arm but very little with the bat.  In 2011, he hit .293 and 34 of his 106 hits went for extra bases.  He also had 14 outfield assist on the year.  King will be 22 at the start of spring training.

Ryan McCurdy appeared in just one game for Lexington.  He spent most of his season in TriCities.  There he hit .324 which is an impressive jump from the .148 combined between Greeneville & TriCities in 2010.  He will turn 24 in December.

Jhonny Medrano hit .203 in 60 games for the Legends this season.  He is a minor league free agent and will likely not be playing affiliated ball next season. Injuries limited his potential. 

Telvin Nash got his 2011 season of to a bang with an impressive April where he hit .310 with an OPS of .997 but then broke the hamate bone in his hand and missed all of May and almost but three games of June.  In the second half, Nash was okay but not as spectacular as his April.  He finished the year with a .269 average and a .858 OPS in Lexington. It is expected that recovery from a hamate fracture can take some time to recover hand strength so we have to take that into account.  Nash has very good power.  Of his 72 hits this season in Lexington, 30 of them were for extra bases.  Here is a video of his power stroke.  He will need to cut down on the strike outs as he continues to climb up the ladder.  He also was learning a new position this year, playing 37 games at 1st base.  He got some extra work in at instructionals. Nash will turn 21 just before spring training begins.

Marcus Nidiffer was released by the Astros and subsequently signed by the Angels organization.  They moved him back to catcher and he hit .230 for Cedar Rapids this year.  He threw out 29% of potential base stealers. He will be 25 when spring training opens.

Roberto Pena was impressive behind the plate in Lexington this season. He threw out 39% of the potential base burglars.  He wasn't as impressive at the plate, hitting just .217 but showed improvement over his numbers in Greeneville last year.  He is seen as a solid catching prospect by the Astros as evidenced by them sending him for a brief stint in the Arizona Fall League. He was also in instructionals. Pena won't turn 20 until June of next year.

Brian Streinlein appeared in 40 games for the Legends and amassed a 3.99 ERA. Streinlein will be 24 when spring training begins.

Tri Cities (6 - 15%)

Ryan Cole finished 22 of the 26 games he appeared in for the ValleyCats. He was credited with 10 saves.  He will be 24 when pitchers report to spring training.

Jermaine Cotton started 2011 in Greeneville in the bullpen. However, he was moved into the starting rotation and was solid there.  He was promoted to Tri Cities and finished the year with a 3.68 ERA in five starts for the ValleyCats.  He earned an invitation to fall instructional league.  He will be 21 when next season begins.

Euris Quezada is a big righty who when he has his control is fun to watch. for the ValleyCats this year, sometime he had it, some times he didn't.  He was shut down after just one start in August.  He finished the year with a 6.95 ERA with 24 Ks and 24 BB in 33 2/3 IP. He will turn 23 next April.

Travis Smink appeared in 23 games for the ValleyCats this season.  He amassed a 4.37 ERA in 45 1/3 IP.  He will turn 25 shortly after the 2012 season begins.

Rafael Valenzuela continues to show he can hit.  After being injured for much of the first half of the season, he reported to Tri Cities and hit .316 in 31 games for the ValleyCats.  The non drafted free agent will be 24 when spring training begins.

Bubby Williams see 2009 write up.

Greeneville (2 - 5%)

Richardo Batista the lefty returned to Greeneville for the 2011 season and showed improvement.  He finished the season strong with a 3.57 ERA for the month of August.  During that month, opponents hit just .192 off of him. During August he also struck out 20 batters in 22 1/2 innings but he also walked 18.  He was invited to instructionals.  He will still be 20 when next season begins. 

Rodney Quintero returned to Greeneville for the 2011 season.  He struck out 32 batters in 28 2/3 IP out of the pen.  Even though the numbers aren't great, he was invited to fall instructional league.  He will turn 22 before pitchers and catchers report to spring training.

Injury/DL (2- 5%)

Vincent Velasquez and Jonathon Merritt both spent their year rehabbing from injuries.  Velasquez was on the instructional league roster.

I expect the number of active players to drop pretty heavily next year with the large number of guys already in the 24 to 25 range in this group.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Both Rookies of the Year have Appy Ties

Both Jeremy Hellickson and Craig Kimbrell started their pro careers in the Appy League. 

Hellickson, appeared in four games for the Princeton Devil Rays in 2005 as an 18 year old.  He never came to Greeneville or faced the G-Stros.

Kimbrell, appeared in 12 games for the Danville Braves in 2008.  He faced Greeneville twice both securing saves in one run wins.  Back on June 21st, 2008, he came into the game in the 8th inning. This is from the game log on MILB.

Greeneville Bottom of the 8th
  • Pitcher Change: Craig Kimbrel replaces Junior Rojas.
  • Frank Almonte pops out to second baseman Chais Fuller.
  • Kody Hinze grounds out, third baseman Jon Gilmore to first baseman Gerardo Rodriguez.
  • Dionel Montas strikes out swinging. 
Greeneville Bottom of the 9th
  • Carlos Mojica called out on strikes.
  • Ricardo Bonfante doubles (1) on a line drive to left fielder Mike Elkerson.
  • Albert Cartwright grounds out, shortstop Shayne Moody to first baseman Gerardo Rodriguez. Ricardo Bonfante to 3rd.
  • Renzo Tello reaches on fielding error by third baseman Jon Gilmore. Ricardo Bonfante scores.
  • Devon Torrence walks. Renzo Tello to 2nd.
  • Jay Austin grounds out, second baseman Chais Fuller to first baseman Gerardo Rodriguez. 
He faced Greeneville again on June 26th.  This is the game log from that affair when he entered with two outs in the 8th. 

Greeneville Top of the 8th 
  • Pitcher Change: Craig Kimbrel replaces Matt Timms.
  • Jose Altuve walks.
  • Frank Almonte grounds out, pitcher Craig Kimbrel to first baseman Chais Fuller. 
Greeneville Top of the 9th
  • Kody Hinze walks.
  • Offensive Substitution: Pinch hitter Federico Hernandez replaces Dionel Montas.
  • Offensive Substitution: Pinch runner Albert Cartwright replaces Kody Hinze.
  • With Federico Hernandez batting, wild pitch by Craig Kimbrel, Albert Cartwright to 2nd.
  • Federico Hernandez flies out to right fielder Chris Shehan. Albert Cartwright to 3rd.
  • Renzo Tello lines into unassisted double play, third baseman Jon Gilmore. Albert Cartwright doubled off 3rd.
 Based on his minor league stats, Kimbrell was one of those rare pitchers who never started a game on his climb to the majors. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Liga Paralela - The Minor Leagues in Venezuela

In Venezuela, there isn’t just the LVBP season going on .  There is also the Liga Paralela, the Venezuelan minor leagues.  Here is an update on the former G-Stros who are playing minor league winter ball. 


Frederico Hernandez – Has started five games and is hitting .227 in 22 at bats.  He has played 1st base in most of his games.

Ernesto Genoves – Has played in four games but started just three.  In 12 at bats, he has three hits for a .250 batting average.  One of those hit was a home run.  He has put in an appearance at 3rd base in one game. 

David Martinez – Has pitched in four games, three of them as a starter.  In 14 innings pitched, he has yet to allow an earned run.  He has allowed just five hits and two walks for a 0.500 WHIP.  He has fanned 8 of the 44 batters he has faced. 

Carlos Quevedo – Has pitched in relief in six games.  He has given up five runs in nine innings pitched but only one of those runs was earned.  So he is sporting a snazzy 1.00 ERA.  He has given up seven hits and fanned three batters.


Yuri (Juri) Perez – Has pitched in five games, three of them as the starter.  In 21 innings, he has given up 20 hits and eight walks.  He has struck out 16 batters.  His ERA is 3.86


Luis Alvarez – Is hitting .282 in 12 games.  He has three doubles and a home run.  He has walked three times and has struck out only three times in 39 at bats.  He has caught four out of six base thieves.

This is all that I can locate on the rosters.  Just last year, Jose Altuve started winter ball in this league and he finished Winterball in the Venezuelan big leagues.  Maybe the same will happen for a few of these guys this year. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Interview: Nine Innings with Jordan Scott

Today I had the chance to visit with Jordan Scott by phone.  Jordan is the 2011 MVP of the Greeneville Astros.  He was nice enough to give me a bit of his time to answer a few questions.   I normally have nine questions for the players, he was kind enough to go to extra innings with me.  Enjoy.

1. You had a good year in 2010 for the GCL Astros. Then you had a very good season for Greeneville and earned the team MVP award. What areas did you see yourself improve in from year one to year two?

JS: Pretty much improving in all aspects of my game.  The biggest part is getting better in the outfield; running better routes and getting better reads on the ball.  Then hitting wise, I worked with the hitting coach, Josh Bonifay.  We did a lot of early hitting. We would probably get out to the field at 1:30 to just get on the field and try to improve the mechanics and get everything consistent.

2. Those of us who follow minor league baseball hear about instructionals but have no idea what they are really like. Can you give us an idea of what instructional league is like?

JS: You take your top 40 or 50 guys out of your organization and play about 20 to 25 games during that month.  It’s basically a lot of instructional stuff and trying to get better in an aspect of your game.  It is a lot of preparation before the game and a lot of practice.  We played against the Nationals, Tigers and Braves.  

3. Were you working on anything particular during instructionals?

JS: I worked on being more consistent in the outfield.  Whether it be the route on the ball or getting my arm stronger.

4. What about for this off season? 

JS: I am preparing myself for next season by working out five or six days a week.  Getting stronger and hitting a lot.

In just two seasons, you have had the chance to play with four different pro teams in the Astros organization. Give your best and worst for each rung of the minor league ladder you have climbed:

5. GCL Astros

JS:Best - Gettting my pro career off to a good start.  I had pretty descent year that year.  I think that was the best for me, just to get a good first season under my belt.  To get some confidence to carry into the next season.

Worst - Everything happening so fast.  Signing and then going down there within two days. It was a pretty tough change for me being away from family and stuff.

6. Greeneville

JS: Best - The fans and the atmosphere.  Coming from the GCL the previous year, there are not many fans at all in the GCL.

Worst - Every other field we played at wasn’t that great.  It was a lot different on the road than at home. 

7. TriCities

JS: Best - I played two series on the road and at one stop, we stayed at a pretty sweet hotel and I could see the stadium from my hotel room. It was with in walking distance.  So it was just walk to the field and walk back.

Worst -  We went from the best park in the league to the worst park in the league.  The other bad thing was that I didn’t get to play at their home stadium.

8. Lexington

JS: Best - Everything.  From the nice apartment we stayed in to the nice facilities to the great fans to going up there on a really good baseball team. It was a really cool experience for me.

Worst - The bus trips.  They’re terrible.  All night trips where you are not very comfortable on the bus. 

9. Who is/are the pitcher(s) on Greeneville's staff this year that you were glad they were on your team so that you didn't have to try to hit off them? (please give us an idea of what pitch is particularly nasty in their arsenal)

JS: Ordisgoitti – as a lefty he throws a lot of two seamers down and away. He has a really good change up and a pretty descent slider. He has pretty good velocity.  He’s a really tough pitcher.    
Extra Innings: I assume you were a baseball fan growing up. Have you had that moment yet where you interact with someone you think of as a player on TV but they are right there on the field next to you? If, so which one stands out in your mind as most memorable.

JS:I got to face Chien Ming Wang and El Duque when I was down in extended this year.  It’s pretty awesome to know you have watched them on TV before but in reality, it’s just you against the pitcher like when you are facing everyone else.  You just have to have confidence to know you will succeed.

I would like to think Jordan for his time today and wish him the best as he prepares for next season.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Jose Altuve is the LVBP Player of the Week

Understatement of the day: Jose Altuve had a pretty good week back in his home of Venezuela.  According to the press release, announcing the weekly award: (gotta love Google Translator)

In short, Jose Altuve during the fourth week took 23 turns in which officers discharged a dozen rockets, which included 4 doubles and a triple, to leave .522 average, in addition to charter 6 stripes and step on the plate 4 times.
Altuve has hit in nine of his last ten games and has had multiple hit games six times out of the last ten.  In fact he has had multi hit games each of the last four games. He has risen to second in the league with a .394 average.

2009 Greeneville Astros Progress Report

The 2009 G-Stros were the first bunch that were the sandwich short season team.  Below them, the new GCL Astros were playing at the spring training complex. And the ValleyCats were playing above them in the NY- Penn League. In Greeneville, the fans didn't know what to expect from the new set up in the lower minors.  What we saw was a mix of high draft pick high school players and low round/free agent college players.  This edition of the the G-Stros had just seven teenagers and all seven were still active this year.

Of the 35 players who graced the roster that year, 63% (22) were still active on an affiliated roster at some point this season.  Let's look at how high they climbed.  They are listed by the highest level they appeared in and the percentage by each level is out of the full roster.

MLB (2- 6%)

Jose Altuve - see 2008 write up

J. D. Martinez - made a brief stop in Greeneville on his rapid climb to the majors.  He hit .403 during just 14 games in Greeneville.  This year, he hist .274 in 53 games in the big leagues.  He made the fastest climb of any G-Stros position player to the majors. 

AAA ( 0 - 0%)

AA (0 - 0%)
Altuve & Martinez appeared at this level but made it the the show to end the season.

High A (6- 17%)
Miguel Arrendell - The utility man appeared at five positions for Lancaster (RF, LF, SS, 2B, 3B) while hitting .281 in 50 games.  He was moved back to Tri Cities for the last month of the season to sure up their middle infield where he hit just .219 in 18 games. Arrendell will turn 24 during spring training next season.

Grant Hogue - Hogue was a  fan favorite during his time in G'ville for his hustle and easy going nature with fans.  After playing in CF exclusively in 09 & 10, he spent time in all three outfield positions in Lancaster in 2011.  He spent 76 of the 106 games in right field, where he amassed 11 of his 15 assist.  He hit .269 on the season.  He will be 25 when he reports to spring training.

Jonathan Meyer - Meyer continues to show improvement as he climbs the ladder.  In Lancaster in 2011, he hit .264 with 14 home runs.  He had only hit 5 in his previous two seasons.  Next year will determine if the power is the result of Lancaster or his maturation as a hitter.  He will be 21 when he reports next season. 

Jio Mier - He evenly split his season between Lexington and Lancaster, playing 57 games at each stop.  He  hit .245 at Lexington, an improvement over 2010's .235, before moving to Lancaster where he hit .233.  Mier is still considered a solid SS prospect and will be 21 when next season rolls around.

Jose Cisnero  - is the pitcher from 2009 who has climbed the highest.  He pitched in Lancaster and amassed a 6.06 ERA. However, when you average 11.09 strike outs per 9 innings (152 in 123 1/3 IP), that means there is something happening good there.  Cisnero will be turn 23 next April. 

Luis Cruz  - see 2008 write up.

Low A (7 - 20%)
Garrett Bullock - the tall lefty made just three appearances in Lexington before returning to short season ball in Tri Cities.  Those three outings were not that impressive.  However, his 2.51 ERA in Tri Cities was solid.  Bullock is old for the levels he has been playing.  He will start the season at 25.

Jeiler Castillo - see 2008 write up.

Gabriel Garcia - after two seasons in G'ville, Garcia moved up to Lexington where he was solid.  In 69 1/3 IP (37 games), he had a 3.76 ERA which is lower than his ERA in either season in Greeneville.  He struck out 68 batters and had a WHIP of just 1.212 which is the lowest of his career.  He is pitching well in winter ball in Venezuela right now.  He will be 22 when spring training begins. 

Murilo Gouvea - spent most of the season in Lexington with a brief time in Tri Cities.  In Lex, he amassed a 3.98 ERA in 30 games (74 2/3 IP).  He had more than a strike out an inning with 83.  He struggled keeping the walks down.  He will be 23 when next season begins.

David Martinez - was a man in search of a role this year.  He pitched in 37 games. He started five and finished 17.  In 66 2/3 IP, he fanned 44 batters while walking 17.  He will be 24 at the beginning of spring training.

Yuri Perez - like Bullock, he had a less than memorable brief stint at Lexington. He made 15 starts for TriCities where he had a 5.48 ERA.  Perez missed most of 2010 after elbow surgery.  He is still working his way back.  We hope he can regain the form he had in 2009 for Greeneville.  He will be 21 at the start of spring training.

Carlos Quevedo - really struggled to keep the ball in the park.  He gave up 22 home runs in Lexington this season in 151 innings pitched.  That equates to 1.3 HR every nine innings.  He gave up more home runs than walks. Quevedo walked 19 batters for an average of 1.1 per nine innings pitched.  Quevedo will be 22 at the start of spring training. 

Short Season A (3 - 5%)
Bubby Williams - the catcher with the cool name,spent 2011 in the New York Penn League.  His showed power, leading the team with six home runs but struggled making consistent contact.  He hit .206 in 36 games for the ValleyCats.  He will be 22 at the start of spring training next year.

Joan Belliard - repeated the NYPenn league in 2011 but only pitched in 18 2/3 innings.  His strike out numbers are still strong but is still struggling with walks.  He will be turning 23 in March.

Travis Smink - after two seasons in G'ville, he moved to Tri Cities this season.  In 23 games, he had a 4.37 ERA.  He will turn 25 next April. 

Rookie Ball & DL (4 - 11%)
Luis Alverez - returned to Greeneville after missing 2010 with a bad knee injury.  Alverez hit .271 in 38 games.  He only struck out 19 times in 151 plate appearances.  He turns 22 just before minor leaguers report to spring training.

B J Hyatt - listed on the roster for Greeneville but never was in uniform.  Still rehabbing from surgery after the 2009 season.

Wilton Infante & Nathan Pettus - see 2008 write up.

Like the 2008 edition, the 2009 team still has 22 active players.  Unlike them, it is the position players who have climbed faster than the pitchers.  A few of the players in this group will not be back for spring training but the core of this bunch should be at AA and High A to start next year.

Former Appy Astros Who Are Now Minor League Free Agents

Baseball America released their list of the minor league free agents on Friday.  There are a great number of former G-Stros who are on the list.   Here are the ones whose careers are at a crossroads. Included are the year(s) they played in Greeneville and the organization they played in last season.

Sammy Gervacio (05 - Houston)
Brad James (05,06 - Houston)
JR Towles (04 - Houston)
Koby Clemens (05 - Houston)
Jhonny Medrano (10 - Houston)
Wlad Sutil (04 - Houston)
Victor Garate (05-  Florida)
Neil Sellers (04 - Florida)
Jordan Parraz (04 - NY Yankees)
Polin Trinidad (05,06 - Texas)
Jimmy Barthmaier (04 - Washington)

Most of the ones on the list have had their shots at the AA level or higher.  However Medrano has only been as high as Lexington (Low A).  He was on the initial roster for the 2008 G-Stros and was bringing a fair amount of buzz with him. He blew his knee out at the first practice of the season in Greeneville.  He missed all of 2008 and never fully regained his prospect status. 

Some of these players will sign with an affiliated team to fill out the upper levels rosters.  Some will choose to play in a foreign country.  Some will play indy ball.  Some of these players will hang their spikes up and walk away silently into the night. We will try to keep you informed on what happens to these players.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

2008 Greeneville Astros Progress Report

What a difference a year makes.  The 2008 Greeneville Astros finished the year 30-36.  While not quite at .500, they were 13 games better than the previous year's team.  This was a young team with 18 of the 38 players still in the teen years when the season began.  Three of them were still 17 (Jay Austin, Jordan Lyles & Luis Cruz).  In 2011, 58% (22 out of 38) of the 2008 roster were still playing affiliated baseball. In fact 12 of the 18 teenagers were still active.

Let's look at this group based on the highest level they played at this year.  The percentage is of the 2008 full roster.

MLB 2 (5%)

Jose Altuve  - Started in Lancaster and hit .408 prior to being moved to Corpus Christ where he hit .361. Then he was promoted to Houston.  In the big leagues, he hit a respectable .276 in 221 at bats in 57 games.  He appears to have locked down the starting 2nd base position for 2012 at the ripe age of 22.

Jordan Lyles -  While Altuve's sudden climb was a bit of a surprise to some, Lyles ascendance was expected.  He was sent to AAA to start the year after a solid spring training but was called up to the quickly to the majors and spent most of the season there.  He started 15 games before being moved to the pen to keep his inning count down.  He finished with a 2-8 record and a 5. 36 ERA.  He has locked up a rotation position for 2012 at age 21.

AAA 2 (5%)
 Patrick Urckfitz - Urckfitz bounced around earning frequent flier miles this year.  He was in AA to start the season.  Then got some brief time in at  AAA before heading back to AA. Next came a short time in hi A before return to AA to wrap up the season.  In four games at AAA he amassed a 17.47 ERA.  In AA 5.08 in 31 games. In hi A, he appeared in 10 games with a 2.02 ERA.  Gotta love a NDFA reaching this level.  he will be 23 at the start of next season.

Henry Villar - Started the season in AAA but was moved to AA in June.  In AAA, he made 7 starts but that experiment ended and he spent the rest of the year in the pen.  Pitched just 76 innings worth of ball between the two for a combined 5.45 ERA. Villar had a brief appearance in the big leagues in 2010. He will be 24 at the start of next season. 

AA  5 (13%)
Kody Hinze  - Had a break out year.  He started in Lancaster, where he hit .323 with 22 HR. He was promoted to CC where he hit 281 with 7 HR.  He is getting extra at bats in the Arizona Fall League right now.  Another solid Non Drafted Free Agent (NDFA) signing. He will be 24 in spring training.

Federico Hernandez - It was a rough year for Freddy.  He struggled at the plate both at AA and at High A after he was sent down to Lancaster.  In both stops he hit less than .200.  He will turn 24 just before pitchers and catchers report.

Ross Seaton - Spent the year in Corpus Christi, 4-9 with a  5.23 in 28 starts He continues to climb a level a year even thought the results aren't spectacular. He will just be 22 when spring training starts.

Kyle Greenwalt & Arcenio Leon  see the 2007 write up.

Hi A  7 (18%)
Jay Austin - The former 2nd round draft pick repeated Lancaster to start the season.  After not showing much progress over last season, he was sent to Lexington to finish the year and he continued to struggle.  He is getting more at bats int the Arizona Fall League right now.  He will be just 21 when the 2012 minor league players report to camp.

Rene Garcia  - The 35th round pick from 2008 spent this season in the California league where he hit hit .242 with only 41 K in 326 AB.  He threw out 30% of base stealers. He will turn 22 during spring training next year.

Luis Cruz - The 9th round pick in 2008 made 4 starts in Lancaster where he got shelled (ERA over 14).  But found moderate success back in Lexington where he went 5-4 with a 4.45 era.  He had 92 strike outs in 91 IP in Lex but gave up 15 HR. He will still be 21 when next season ends!

Colton Pitkin - see the 2007 write up

Zachary Grimmett - He split time between the starting rotation and the bullpen this year in Lancaster.  As a starter 7.35 ERA in 18 games (85 2/3 IP) as a reliever 5.34 in 12 games (32 IP). He will turn 22 before he reports to spring training.

Jose Trinidad  - Season shorted to just 10 games due to an injury. He will start the season on the DL at age 24.

Wander Alvino  - Had 73 K in 73 IP (46 games).  His 4.19 ERA isn't bad when you consider the location. His walks per 9 jumped from 2.8 in Lex in 10 to 6.3 in Lancaster.  Alvino will turn 25 before he reports this spring.

Low A 3 (8%)
Jorge De Leon - The former shortstop now converted to pitcher went 6-4 with a 3.42 ERA in 43 games (55 1/3 IP).  He struck out 51 to just 13 walks while giving up 5 long balls. He will be 24 next season. 

Brad Dydalewicz - The 8th round pick of the 2008 draft had a rough season.  In  only 29 2/3 innings pitched between GCL & Lexington, he amassed a 10.86 ERA.  He will turn 22 during spring training next season. 

Jeiler Castillo - After being drafted by the A's in the rule 5 draft; Castillo started in the Midwest league (Low A) but was sent back to Vermont (SS A) for his 4th season in short season ball.  He was released after the season.

Short Season 1 (3%)
Wilton Infante  - The former outfielder tried to make the move to pitcher.  After six outings in the GCL, he was released

DL/Rehab 2 (5%)
Albert Cartwright - see the 2007 write up.

Nathan Pettus - The former 27th round pick of the 2008 draft spent most of 2011 on the DL.  He appeared in 5 games at the GCL Astros rehabbing his way back from an injury.  He will be 23 when the new season starts. 

We would expect the number of active players to continue to rise while we look at more recent teams but the jump from five to 22 in one year tells us that something changed in the Astros farm system in 2008.  Oh yeah, Bobby Heck joined the Astros staff in October of 2007.  You think that change made a difference?