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.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Astros 2007 Draft

With news from What The Heck, Bobby that Kyle Greenwalt had been released today.  I took a quick look back at the 2007 Astros draft.  It was not just a bad draft.  It was an epic failure of a draft.

The Astros, who were without a 1st and 2nd round picks due to free agent signings, drafted 42 players that year.  They signed 34 of those.  Of the 8 they did not sign.  Let's look at those picks and what happened to those players.

 Players Not Signed
#3 Derek Dietrich - Redrafted in 2nd round in 2010.  Played in Low A last year.

#4 Brett Eibner - Redrafted in 2nd round in 2010.  Played in Low A last year.

#8 Chad Bettis - Redrafted in 2nd round in 2010. Played in Hi A last year.

#13 Chad Jones - Two sport star from LSU was redrafted in 50th round in 2010 but didn't sign.  He was drafted in the 3rd round of the NFL draft by the Giants and then suffered significant injuries in a car accident.  He is fighting to work his way back to football from that accident.

#15 Matt Fitts - Redrafted in the 16th round in 2010.  Played in Low A last season

#38 Robert Weinhardt - Redrafted in the 10th round in 2010.  Has made 30 appearances for the Detroit Tigers over the last two seasons.  The only player of this draft to have reached the majors for this Astros draft class.

#39 Scott Fletcher - Redrafted in the 18th round in 2010.  He played in Low A last season.

#40 Kyle Erdman - Never drafted again.

Signed Players
Of the 32 players who signed, only two are still active.  Collin DeLome is still in the Astros organization and has reached AAA.  Albert Cartwright was traded to the Phillies.  He missed all of 2011 due to an Achilles Heel injury but is back in camp this spring.  He has reached AA.

Here is the highest level reached by the the 32 players who have signed.

AAA -3 (1 active)
AA -4 (1 active)
Hi A - 8
Low A - 7
SS A - 7
Rookie - 5

So 12 (37.5%) out of the 32  never made it to full season ball.  Worse yet, of the 32 players signed, 25 (78%) never made it out of A ball.

Traded Players
Not every player provides value for the drafted team by making it to the big leagues on that team.  Other players provide value by being traded for needed components.  This may have been where this draft provided what little value it has provided.  Here are the players and the drafts they were involved in.

#10 round pick - Matt Cusick was traded along with cash for LaTroy Hawkins in 2008.  Hawkins finished strong for the 2008 Astros.  He amassed a 0.43 ERA in 21 innings.  He then re-signed for 3.5 million in 2009 where he pitched in 65 games (63 1/3 IP) and earned a 2.13 ERA and 11 saves.

#11 round pick - Robert Bono was traded along with Luis Bryan and a PTBN (Jorge Jiminez - a rule 5 draft pick) to the Marlins for reliever Matt Lindstrom.  Lindstrom pitched in 58 games in 2010 for the Astros. His ERA was 4.39 and he earned 23 saves.  He was traded to Colorado in the off season of 2010 for Jonnathon Aristil and Wes Musik.

#36 round pick - Albert Cartwright was traded to the Phillies for Sergio Escalona in January of 2011.  Escalona pitched in 49 games (27 2/3 IP) for the Astros in 2011 with an ERA of 2.93. He will miss 2012 with Tommy John surgery.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Koby Clemens Striving For AAA Roster for Toronto

LFPress.com had a feature on Koby Clemens' attempt to make the AAA roster for the Blue Jays this spring.  In the feature it is clear that Clemens still lives in the shadow of his father.  But he not only had to deal with questions about his dad, he also had to answer questions about Canadian baseball legend, Stubby Clapp.
“Man, he’s big in Memphis, he was the first Redbird player to have his number retired and they have a six-panel shot on the outfield fence of him doing his flip,” said Koby of the mural at AutoZone Park.
They also had a great quote from Kyle Drabek about the two Cy Young dads throwing BP back in Houston.
 “Roger would throw smoke and my dad was ‘pfft,’ ... nothing left,” Drabek said.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Why Patton Can't Be Lefty Specialist - HUH?

Troy Patton continues to be effective in spring training.  He pitched one inning yesterday, pitching around a walk and a hit batter to notch his sixth outing without a run scoring. 

In other news in Orioles camp yesterday, they reported they has signed Dontrell Willis to a minor league deal.  Jim Henneman proposed they look at making Willis a lefty specialist.  In his argument, he made this statement:
The Orioles don't have such a (lefty) specialist, because Troy Patton is as effective against right-handed hitters as he is against lefties
I don't think I understand his case there but it my simple way of thinking a pitcher who can get batters out from both sides of the plate is better than one who can only get batters out on one side of the plate. 

Parraz Helps Case To Make Braves

Yesterday, Jordan Parraz helped his case to make the Braves big league roster with a single in the ninth inning to tie the game.  Parraz went 1 for 4 and saw his spring training average drop to .393.  Braves manager Freddi Gonzalez talked about him after the game:
"So far, he has swung the bat well," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He has some pop. Everything is about timing and opportunity. But yeah, I like what I see. He runs the bases well. He's not going to steal you 30 bases, but he's OK. He throws above average."
The Brave's blogs are starting to pick up the case for Jordan making the roster as well. Tomhawk Take compared the three outfielders in the battle for the final spot  and had this to say in conclusion:
So based on all of the things I have went over Jordan Parraz would be my choice to have a spot on the bench come Opening Day. I feel like his bat is needed with the team still struggling a bit offensively.
Capitol Avenue Club had this to say about their expectations for Jordan's contributions off the bench:
While the bench does not look as strong as it once was in the Omar Infante and Martin Prado (on the bench) days, Drew Sutton and Jordan Parraz have a chance to take a somewhat mediocre group and make them above average. Over the past 20 years when the Braves have been good, they often had a solid bench that helped when called upon. With Sutton and Parraz likely to get shots this spring, I think the bench could end up being a valuable asset over the course of the season.
 As the spring progresses, I am getting hopeful that the Greeneville Astros staff will be putting up another banner of a former G-Stro who has made it to the show.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Former G-Stros Fighting for Roster Spots

Let's take a look outside the Astros system at players who have been in big league camp and what their chances are of making a major league roster on opening day.

Troy Patton - Orioles (G-Stros 2004)
Patton has been solid this spring.  In five games, he has not allowed an earned run in 6 1/3 IP.  He has picked up one save as well.  This combined with his solid finish to the 2011 season in the Orioles bullpen make him the former G-Stro with the best chance of making the big league team.

Patton's chances of making the Orioles out of spring training: Very Likely  

Felipe Paulino - Royals (G-Stros 2004)
Paulino is locked in a battle for the back end of the rotation in Kansas City.  Yesterday, Paulino pitched four innings against the Angles.  He allowed one run on four hits and now walks.  He fanned four batters, including Albert Pujols twice. Here is what his manager said after the game:

"He threw really well, commanded the ball, had good stuff, kept the ball down and got through four innings pretty efficiently," manager Ned Yost said. "I thought he threw the ball extremely well."
He will likely have one more start this spring.  The Royals rotation is taking shape with Jonathan Sanchez, Luke Hochevar, and Bruce Chen locking down the first three spots.  After that Paulino, Danny Duffy and Luis Mendoza are battling for the last two spots.  Paulino and Mendoza are out of options so sending them down, would expose them to the waiver wire.

Paulino's chances at making the Royals out of spring training: Likely

Jordan Parraz - Braves (G-Stros 2004)
Parraz has toured the minor leagues in his career.  He started with the Astros' organization and was traded to the Royals.  He was claimed off waivers by the Red Sox and the Yankee's before signing with the Braves this year as a minor league free agent.  He has played three seasons in AAA and has hit a respectable but not spectacular .279 with an OBP of .356 and slugging .425.

This spring, he has been on fire on a Braves team who has struggled offensively.  Through 17 games (24 AB), he is hitting .417 with a triple and a home run.  He has walked once and struck out three times.

Parraz is fighting for the 25th spot on the roster. The last spot on the roster is currently occupied by Jose Costanza, who became a fan favorite filling in for Jason Heyward last year. Constanza is hitting .174 in 13 games this spring (23 AB). The other candidate for the spot is Luis Durango, who had a cup of coffee with Houston last year. Durango is hitting an impressive .526 in 19 at bats. All 10 of his hits have been singles and he has walked five times as well. So his OBP is .625. I think this battle will come down to what the Braves want on the bench. If they want flexibility in OF position, Parraz has the edge. If they want power, Parraz has the edge. If they want speed, Durango has the edge.

Parraz's chance of making the Braves roster out of spring training: Possible 

J R Towles - Twins (G-Stros 2004) 
Towles signed a minor league deal with the Twins and is battling for the third catcher spot behind Joe Mauer, and Ryan Doumit.  He has had a mixed spring batting .200 with one home run.  His competition for the spot Rene Rivera and Drew Butera.  Rivera played in 45 games for the Twins last year and hit just .144.  Butera played in 93 games for the Twins last seaon and hit .167.  So all three of these guys have major league time with very poor hitting track records.  They are all 28 years old.

Towles chances of making the Twins' roster out of spring training: Unlikely

Victor Garate - Brewers (G-Stros 2005)

Garate has only appeared in one game for the Brewers this spring.  Expect him to be in AAA when camp breaks.

Garate's chances of making the Brewers' roster out of spring training: No chance

Ralph Henriquez - Mariners (G-Stros 2005, 2006)
Henriquez has appeared in two games early in camp and has not appeared in one since.  He has one hit in three at bats.

Henriquez's chances of making the Mariners' roster out of spring training: No chance

Best of luck to these guys.  We will continue to keep you updated on where former Greeneville Astros wind up when big league and minor league camps break.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Placement Predictions for 2012 for Former G-Stros

This will take all of the "What To Watch For" post placement predictions and give you my guess which roster former G-Stros will show up on at the end of spring training.  Some of the players will be released, especially at the lower end of the minors, but I don't like to predict releases. So you might say this is more of my view of where the players fit on the organizational depth chart.

4/3/12 - Updated: Bold means confirmed, italics indicate incorrect, and strike through means released/retired

J. Lyles (SP) Oklahoma City
F. Abad (RP)
J. D. Martinez (OF)
J. Altuve (2B)

Oklahoma City (AAA)
P. Urckfitz (RP) Lancaster
A. Leon (RP) Corpus Christi
H. Villar (RP) Corpus Christi
B. Barnes (OF) Corpus Christi
K. Hinze (1B) Corpus Christi

Corpus Christi (AA)
W. Alvino (RP) released 3/12
J. Cisnero (RP)
K. Greenwalt (RP) released 3/12
R. Seaton (SP)
J. Austin (OF) DL - Lexington
G. Hogue (OF) ? not on roster
J. Meyer (3B) Lancaster
C. Wallace (C)
R. Garcia (C) Lancaster

Lancaster (Hi A)

M. Gouvea (RP) Lexington
D. Martinez (RP)
L. Cruz (SP) Lexington
J. DeLeon (RP)
B. Dydalewicz (RP) ? Not on a roster
G. Garcia (RP)
Z. Grimmett (RP)
J. Perez (SP) ? Not on a roster
C. Quevedo (SP)Lexington
E. King (OF) Lexington
B. Lane (OF) released 3/12
J. Mier (SS)
D. DeShields Jr.  (2B) Lexington
B. Orloff (2B) Lexington
T. Nash (1B) Lexington
R. Pena (C) Lexington

Lexington (Lo A)
R. Cole (RP) Retired 3/12
J. Cotton (RP) Not on a full season roster
J. Meiners (RP) Not on a full season roster
J. Mojica (RP) Not on a full season roster
N. Pettus (RP) Not on a full season roster
R. Quintero (RP) Not on a full season roster
B. Streilein (RP) Lancaster
S. Zuloaga (RP)
R. Alaniz (RP) Lancaster
M. Foltynewicz (SP)
A. Houser (SP) Not on a full season roster
L. Ordosgotti (SP) Not on a full season roster
E. Quezada (RP) Not on a full season roster
J. Scott (OF)
J. Batista (3B/SS) Not on a full season roster
A. Todd (SS)
C. Moon (SS) Not on a full season roster
J. Magee (2B) Not on a full season roster
C. Davidson (1B) Not on a full season roster
R. Valenzuela (1B/3B) Lancaster
L. Alverez (C) Not on a full season roster
E. Genoves (C) Not on a full season roster

Extended Spring Training
Z. Dando (P)
B. Hyatt (P)
S. Martin (P) released 3/12
J. Propst (P)
P. Shewey (P)
M. Smith (P) released 3/12
R.Batista (P)
C. Lee (P)
J. Perdomo (P)
T. Perez (P)
F. Ramirez (P)
V. Velasquez (P)
A. Ovando (OF)
G. Wright (OF)
D. Rivera (3B)
J. Merritt (SS)
R. Sosa (2B)
J. Wiersbicki (1B)
R. McCurdy (C) Lancaster
B. Williams (C) released 3/12

What To Watch For In 2012: Former G-Stros Relief Pitchers

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.

Relief Pitchers

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

Abad Looking Good

Former Greeneville Astro Fernando Abad is off to a good start this spring.  He was singled out by Manager Brad Mills yesterday after the Astros game yesterday.

“The ball came out of his hand really good,” Mills said. “That’s an adjustment from what we saw last year (when Abad had a 7.22 ERA in 29 appearances.
“It’s more like 2010 (when Abad had a 2.84 ERA in 22 games), the way he’s throwing the ball right now.”
 Abad made is MLB debut in 2010 with a 2.84 ERA in 19 innings.  After an impressive winter ball season he made the team in 2011 but struggled with a 7.32 ERA in 19 2/3 innings before being sent down to AAA.  He missed some of the season with shoulder tendonitis and was sent down to the GCL for rehab.  This off season, he only appeared in four games in the Dominican Winter League and none after November.  He appears rested and ready to go.  It is still early but this might be a year for him to have a full year in the big leagues. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What To Watch For In 2012 - Former G-Stros Starting Pitchers

I am wrapping up the 2012 What To Watch for series on the mound this year.  Because of the volume of pitchers on a roster, I won't cover everyone. Let's will start with those who were starters for the majority of their time in Greeneville. We will cover the relievers in the final episode. The year they pitched for the G-Stros, the highest level they have played at and their age on opening day are listed in parentheses.

Starting Pitchers

R. J. (Ruben) Alaniz (2010, Lo A, 20) - Held his own as a 19 year old in the Sally League.  Will he repeat Lex or move on to Lancaster? Will he continue to start or make the move to the pen?

Jimmy Barthmaier (2004, MLB, 28)  - Was re-signed as a minor league free agent by the Nationals after an unimpressive 2011 season.  Will he break camp with  AA, AAA or release papers?

Richardo Batista (2010, 11, Rookie, 20) - Batista repeated Greeneville in 2011 and had his best season yet.  Can the lefty harness his pitches and cut down on walks and wild pitches? 

Jose Cisnero (2009, Hi A, 22) - Cisnero's ERA suffered in Lancaster.  After three years of mid 3.00 ERA, he jumped to a 6.06.  But his strikeouts jumped as well.  In 2011, he fanned 152 in 123 1/3 IP.  How will he adjust to AA hitters? Can he bring the walks down?  How long does he continue to start?

Luis Cruz (2008, 09, Hi A, 21) - Got off to a rough start in Lancaster in 2011 and was sent back to Lex where he fanned 92 in 91 innings. How will he fair in Lancaster this time? 

Brad Dydalewicz (2008, Lo A, 21) - Missed most of the season due to an injury.  Low A or Hi A for him this year?  Can he reduce his walk numbers?

Mike Foltynewicz (2010, Lo A, 20) - Folty showed strides in May, June & July of his first full season but appeared to hit a wall in August and September.  Which team will he break camp with? Can he show good results for a complete season?

Gabriel Garcia (2009,2010, Lo A, 22) - Moved from starter to bullpen in 2010.  Showed some promise there striking out 68 batters in 69 1/3 IP.  However, the long ball monster got him 10 times last season.  Can he improve on 2011, while pitching in hitter friendly Lancaster?

Kyle Greenwalt (2007, 08, AA, 23) - After a rough start to 2011 in AA, Greenwalt was sent back to Lancaster as a reliever.  He excelled there and was returned to AA.  There he was some better but still not great.  Will he be a reliever or a starter?  Can he show improvement in a return to AA? 

Juan Gutierrez (2004, MLB, 28) - Had season ending surgery in 2011 and was then signed by the Royals to a minor league deal.  Will start 2012 on the DL. Will he be able to return from the surgery and resume his work as a solid arm in the bullpen?

Adrian Houser (2011, Rookie, 19) - Pitched well in six games in Greeneville after starting in the GCL.  Will he be in Lexington to start the year?  Will what he worked on in instructional league and mini camp show up on the mound this spring?

Chris Lee (2011, Rookie, 19) - Finished strong in his last three outings.  Combined for 14 K's in his last 12 IP with only 1 earned run.  But he also walked 11 during that stretch.  Will improvements seen at the end of 2011 carry over into 2012?  Extended Spring or Lexington?

Arcenio Leon (2007, 08, AAA, 25) - Struggled in AA & AAA last year. How will he fair in big league spring training?  Where will he start 2012?

Jordan Lyles (2008, MLB, 21) - Spent most of the season in the bigs last year.  Will he be in the Houston rotation when camp breaks? What will his second full season in the bigs hold?

Luis Ordosgotti (2011, SS A, 19) -The highlight of the 2011 starters in Greeneville.  Showed real promise.  Does he have the maturity to pitch in the SALLY as a teen? 

Troy Patton (2004, MLB, 26) - Is the only piece from the Tejada trade still in the Orioles system.  Will he make the team out of spring training?  What will his role in the pen be?

Felepe Paulino (2004, MLB, 28) - Seemed to like pitching for KC after a failed stint as a Rockie.  Will he earn a spot in the rotation out of spring training?  Will this year be the year he lives up to expectations?

Jose Perdomo (2011, Rookie, 20) - After a great 2010 in the GCL, he came to the Appy and got lit up.  He was put on the shelf and didn't pitch after the middle of July.  Will he be back in Greeneville or in Tri Cities for 2012?  Will he be healthy enough to pitch anywhere?

Juri (Yuri) Perez (2009, Lo A, 21)  After missing most of 2010 with injury, he was sent to Lexington where he was lit up.  At Tri Cities, he found much more success.  How will Lexington treat him this season?  Can he return to the form he showed in Greeneville prior to the arm injury?

Tyson Perez (2011, Rookie, 22) Mixed results season to start his pro career with 42 K in 43 IP but 10 HR and 50 hits.  Will he make Lexington's starting rotation? 

Carlos Quevedo (2009, Lo A, 22) - Quevedo put up decent numbers in Lexington last year.  He rarely walks hitters but the long ball has been his thorn in the flesh.  If he goes to Lancaster, how will his HR numbers look then?  

Euris Quezada (2010, SS A, 22) - Quezada had his season cut short with injury after having his best outings of the year.  Will he be healthy for 2012?

Francis Ramirez (2011, Rookie, 20) - A mid season call up from the GCL showed some real promise in four starts for Greeneville.  More advanced stats from Fangraphs temper the excitement with a BABIP of .204.  In other words they say he was very, very lucky. Which pitcher is he, the one who gave up 20 walks in 30 1/3 IP in the GCL or the one who gave up two in 18 2/3 IP in the APPY?

Ross Seaton (2008, AA, 22) - Showed some improvement in AA in '11 after a rough 2010 in Lancaster.  Will he be in AAA or repeat AA? 

Jose Trinidad (2008, Hi A, 24) - Will start season on DL.  Will he pitch at all in 2012? 

Vincent Velasquez (2010, Rookie, 19) - Missed all of 2011 after TJ surgery.  How will he look and where will he be playing?

Tom Vessella (2006, AAA, 26) - After two years in Indy ball, Vessella returned to affiliated ball in 2011 with the Giants.  He pitched in four different levels (low A, hi A, AA, & AAA).  Can his comeback story continue in 2012?

Henry Villar (2008, MLB, 24) - After a cup of coffee with Houston in 2010, Villar started in AAA but was a bit over matched there.  He was returned to AA where he put up much better numbers?  Will the second time starting at AAA be the charm?  Can he get another cup of coffee this year?

Projected placement of those still in the Astros organization:


Oklahoma City (AAA)


Corpus Christi (AA)

Lancaster (Hi A)
J. Perez

Lexington (Lo A)

Extended Spring Training
T. Perez

Monday, March 5, 2012

Paulino Ready for Breakout in KC

Former G- Stro Felipe Paulino is featured in a write up by the Kansas City Star.  He talks about how he is enjoying being in KC and is optimistic about 2012. 
“I believe I found my home here last year with KC,” Paulino said. “I’m really happy about the opportunity that KC gave me. They let me be a starting guy last season, and that’s what I’ve prepared to be for all of my career.

His manager, Ned Yost, says this about him: 
“His stuff is dynamic and electric, but he still can’t pitch effectively out of the strike zone. He can’t pitch up, and he can’t pitch out. It was a very fine line with him.
“He would overpower guys at times last year, but in order for him to maintain his consistency, and become a consistent winner, he’s got to command the fastball down in the zone. When he gets out of the zone, when he gets the ball up, he gets hammered.”

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/02/23/3447941/royals-paulino-believes-hes-poised.html#storylink=cpy
He has been working with new pitching coach, Dave Eiland to improve his mechanics in bullpens and the initial results are promising.  But the fans from Missiouri are waiting for the "show me" results in a game.  He suffered a hamstring tweak last week but is expected to get his first spring training action this week. 

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/02/23/3447941/royals-paulino-believes-hes-poised.html#storylink=cpy

Bad Luck: Former G-Stro Edition

Over at the Crawfish Boxes today, they had a good post on the role that luck plays in teams season. They mention player development as one area where luck comes into play.  That got me thinking about how luck has played into former G-Stros history.  the recipient of the most good luck was J. R. TowlesI wrote about his up and down journey last year so I won't belabor the point here.

As for the former G-Stro with the worst luck, I have to say it was Josh Flores.  Flores was the 4th round pick in 2005 out of the same junior college program that produced a fellow by the name of Kirby Puckett.  He came to Greeneville and hit an outstanding .335 and showed plus speed in CF and on the bases.  He finished the year as the #8 prospect in the Appy, and the #10 prospect in the Astros organization that year.  (Fail Alert: That Astros prospect list had Eli Iorg rated at #5 and Hunter Pence at #6).  After doing adequate at Lexington as a 20 year old in 2006, he tears up Salem to start the 2007 season.  That earns him a promotion to Corpus Christi where he struggles. 

Enter the bad luck.  During the off season, he steps off a curb and blows out his knee (one source reported it was both knees but I have never seen conformation).  So he missed all of 2008.  He comes back in 2009 and 45 games into that season, he suffers another knee injury that caused him to miss the rest of the season.  In 2010, he came back and started at Lancaster but was released after he struggled to hit .220 and just before he was suspended 50 games for failing a drug screen for a drug of abuse. (That last part wasn't bad luck, that was bad choices).

Flores is still playing ball for the Indy League Joliet Slammers.  You have to wonder what might have happened if he had not slipped off that curve. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Austin to Miss Most of Spring Training

Zachary Levine is reporting that Jay Austin suffered a broken hand and will miss about four weeks while it heals.  Since minor league camp opens this weekend and opening games for full season teams are set for April 5th, he will miss most if not all of minor league spring training and hence opening day.

This is a set back for Austin who showed promise in 11 games during the Arizona Fall League.  He hit .311 with an OPS of .829.  I was expecting to see him on the roster for Corpus Christi but it looks like he will now be starting the season rehabbing during extended spring training.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

What To Watch For In 2012 - Former G-Stros Outfield

Heading into the outfield to wrap up our position players in our What to Watch For series. Notice that there are only three names listed from before 2009. Again the years they played in Greeneville, highest level and age on opening day will be in parenthesis.


Jay Austin (2008 - High A - 21) -Starting his 5th pro season at 21 years of age, Austin's status isn't that different from last year.  Is this the year he lives up to expectations? Can he build off his solid AFL performance with a solid year in AA?  Can we remember that he is still just 21 and be patient?

Brandon Barnes (2005,06 - AAA - 25) - Based on his time with the G-Stros, Barnes has exceeded expectations.  He was very raw and never hit above .220 in his two years in Greeneville.  But he has shown improvement each year.  How will he fair in big league camp this spring? Can he continue to improve in 2012 or has he reached his peak? 

Emilio King (2010- Low A - 22) - King had a reputation as a stellar outfielder but the bat was the question heading into 2011.  He answered those questions with a .293 average in Lexington with nine HR and 24 doubles.  Will he secure 14 or more outfield assist for the third year in a row?  Will his offensive numbers continue to rise?  Can he make it to AA before the year is out?

J. D. Martinez (2009 - MLB - 24) - His rapid assent to the majors finds him as the projected starting LF for the Astros this year.  Will he be a superb sophomore or suffer a sophomore slump? Could he be the first former G-Stro to make an all star team?

Ariel Ovando (2011 - Rookie - 18) - Ovando didn't make a huge splash in his debut season but he did show improvement.  He showed signs of the tools that excited folks prior to his signing through out the year but he just wasn't consistent.  Will he be back in Greeneville for year #2? Has he improved on tracking balls better in RF?  Will we be able to see more of the diamond and less of the rough by the end of the year?

Jordan Scott (2011 - Low A - 20) - Scott had a break out year in Greeneville, tying the team record for hits with 83, and battling for the league hitting title.  What does this year hold?  Can he build on last year's success and put up solid numbers in full season ball?  Can he improve his routes in LF?

Others to watch: 

Grant Hogue (2009 - Low A - 24) - Will he break camp with the AA Hooks?

Bryce Lane (2010 - High A - 22)- Lane returned to earth in 2011 after his strong finish to 2010. Will 2012 see him rebound?   

Jordan Parraz (2004 - AAA - 27) - Will he get a chance to play in a big league game this year? After being in 5 organizations in his career, how long will he be with the Braves?

Garen Wright (2011 - Rookie -21) - Injuries cut his third season short.  He still showed improved numbers in limited action.  Will 2012 find him in Tri Cities? Will this be the year he breaks out?

Projected placement of those still in the Astros organization:
Houston (MLB)

Oklahoma City (AAA)

Corpus Christi (AA)

Lancaster (Hi A)

Lexington (Lo A)

Extended Spring training