So we have come to the bullpen at last. Eighty percent of the players listed below, pitched in Greeneville in 2009, 2010 or 2011. Relievers are the longest shots to make it to the majors. Let's see who is still around and what I will be watching for in 2012 as the full season teams start up next month.
The player's year(s) with the G-Stros, highest level and age on opening day will be in parentheses.
Fernando Abad (2007, MLB, 26) - Abad didn't live up to expectations in 2011. I suspect he pitched too much in winter ball and wasn't rested for spring training. This year, he only pitched 16 innings of winter ball and is off to a good start in spring training. Will he be with the big club when camp breaks? Can he have a breakout year?
Wander Alvino (2008, Hi A, 25) - Alvino had fairly impressive numbers for Lancaster in '11. He fanned 73 batters in 73 innings but did have an increase in walks. How will he handle AA hitters?
Ryan Cole (2010, SS A, 24) - Cole was the closer in Tri Cities last season. Will he be in Lancaster before the year is out?
Jermaine Cotton (2010, 11, SS A, 21) After being a reliever in 2010, he was pressed in starting in 2011. He did well as a starter and earned a promotion to Tri Cities where he made five starts. Will he start or relieve in Lexington in 2012? Can he continue to show the improvement he showed in 2011?
Zachary Dando (2011, Rookie, 21) - Had an up and down season in Greeneville but more up than down. Can he make the jump to Lexington in 2012?
Victor Garate (2005, MLB, 27) - Garate pitched in AAA for the Marlins last year putting up an impressive 2.72 ERA out of the pen. He was signed by the Brewers as a minor league free agent and is expected to be AAA depth. Will he get another crack at the bigs this year.
Murilo Gouvea (2009, Lo A, 23) - The Brazilian right hander, who was acquired from the White Sox for cash in 2009, put up solid numbers in Lexington in 2011 out of the pen. How will he fair in Lancaster? Can he have more K's than IP for the third straight year?
B. J. Hyatt (2009, Rookie, 23) - He hasn't pitched in two seasons due to an injury. Will he make a comeback in 2012?
David Martinez (2009, Lo A, 25) - Had a descent season in Lex and then pitched in the LVBP in his home country of Venezuela. How will he fair in Lancaster? Can this be a two level year for him?
Steve Martin (2011, Rookie, 24) - A Tale of two months. July (1.38 ERA ) and August (11.45 ERA). Had less than 20 innings pitched at Texas A&M. Will we see a jump in the learning curve in 2012?
Jeremiah Meiners (2011, Hi A, 23) - Meiners showed significant growth from 2010 to 2011 and earned a late season promotion to Lancaster from Greeneville. Will he be back in Lancaster to start 2012 or will he be in Lexington?
Juan Mojica (2011, Rookie, 23) - Only made one appearance in G'ville. He has only pitched 30 2/3 IP since missing all of 2009 with injury. Will he be ready for full season ball in 2012?
Nathan Pettus (2008,09, Lo A, 23) - Pettus missed most of 2010 and 2011 with injuries. Will he be healthy enough to make a roster? Will injuries have claimed his career?
James Propst (2011, Rookie, 22) - Descent season in Greeneville in 2011. Will he show progress against advanced hitters in higher levels?
Rodney Quintero (2010, 11, Rookie, 22) - Quintero repeated Greeneville in 2011 and was not that impressive. Will he be on a roster in 2012?
Paris Shewey (2011, Rookie, 23) - Really struggled at the end of the year in Greeneville. Will he make it out of spring training?
Matson Smith (2011, Rookie, 23) - Smith was one of the older members of the G-Stros in 2011. He has put up solid numbers in two season of short season ball. Will he get a chance a full season ball this year?
Brian Streilein (2010, Lo A, 23) - Was great in June (2.12 ERA) and July (1.35 ERA). Not as much in May (7.71 ERA) and August (7.80 ERA). Will he have a consistent 2012?
Pat Urckfitz (2008, AAA, 23) - Urckfitz had a great 2010 and then struggled in 2011. I think he needs to ditch the contacts and go back to the rec specs! Can he recover the 2010 stuff? AA or AAA this year?
Scott Zuloaga (2011, Rookie, 22) - This sidewinder finished strong with a 2.45 ERA in August for Greeneville. He is a specialist with a 1.00 ERA verses right handed batters and a 14.29 ERA verses lefties. Will he be in Lexington in 2012? Will he get the chance to improve his numbers against righties?
Projected placement of those still in the Astros organization:
Oklahoma City (AAA)
Corpus Christi (AA)
Lancaster (Hi A)
Lexington (Lo A)
Extended Spring Training