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, January 26, 2013

Looking Ahead at the 2013 Roster - Spring Training Watch List

Yesterday was a yucky day here in beautiful Greeneville.  An ice storm paralyzed the town and made the Greeneville Astros reschedule their new look launch until Tuesday.  However, the extra down time allowed me to finalized my plans to attend Spring Training this season.

I am looking forward to touching base with guys who have passed through Greeneville who are in both major and minor league camp.  I will also have my eye out for players who might be coming to Greeneville this season when I get a chance to check out the back fields.

Last season, the Greeneville roster was made up of mostly players who had made at least an appearance in Greeneville in 2011 (12) and those drafted or signed in 2012 (11).  There were only five players who were promoted to Greeneville to start the season.  This was a significant departure from the previous year when only four players on the roster had been in Greeneville the year before and 14 were promoted from the GCL or the Dominican Summer League.  This year will tell us if last year was an anomaly or if it is the way the new front office does things.

Here are the players from last year's GCL & DSL teams that I will be watching for in Spring Training because I think they could possibly wind up in Greeneville this season.  Of course, final roster construction is heavily impacted by the players to be drafted in 2013 and injuries. 

Brett Phillips - The center fielder was the 6th round pick from last years draft won't turn 19 until May.  He put up a solid 2012 in the GCL hitting .251 with 13 extra base hits (7 2b, 6 3b, 0 HR).  He had a .720 OPS with an even .360 in both on base and slugging.  He is one of the guys I fully expect to wind up in Greeneville this season. 

Samil De Los Santos - A 19 year old RHP from the Dominican Republic. He fanned 63 batters in 57 2/3 IP in the DSL in 2012.  He walked 20 which is a bit high but when you consider that he walked 20 in 15 1/3 innings in 2011; you can see it is a vast improvement.  Despite the 20 walks, his WHIP was 1.075. 

Pedro Coa - The 20 year old catcher from Venezuela made a strong improvement in the DSL in 2012. His line from 2011 was .186/.263/.198.  Last year it was .256/.320/.311.  He is a contact hitter who had just eight walks and five strikeouts in 104 plate appearances.  In the field, he threw out 60% of base stealers (25 out of 42)! He also has some versatility playing six games at 1B, two games at 2B and a game each at 3B and SS.

Agapito Barrios - The 19 year old RHP from Panama cut his walks significantly in 2012.  He went from 27 in 58 2/3 IP in the DSL in 2011 to just 8 in 49 1/3 IP  in the GCL in 2012.  

Alfredo Gonzalez - 20 year old catcher who hit .244 in 27 games with the GCL Astros last year. His average jumped from .172 in the GCL in 2011.  He also improved in every defensive category as well last year.

Juan Santana18 year old middle infielder from the Dominican Republic.  He hit .268 last season in the GCL.  He played 33 games at 2nd and made just three errors.  Struggled defensively at SS in 24 games, making 8 errors.

Wallace Gonzalez - He will be 20 when he reports this spring.  The former 29th round pick in 2011 has spent two years in the GCL; though the 2011 season hardly counts because he only appeared in 18 games.  He hit .256 in 41 games in 2012 and made just one error in the OF in 42 chances.

Enderson Franco - The 20 year old RHP from Venezuela also improved his control in 2012 while he repeated the GCL.  He went from 17 walks in 2011 in 47 IP to just 8 walks last season in 50 IP.  He also saw his strike outs increase from 26 to 37.

Luis Reynoso - The 18 year old from the Dominican Republic had a solid season at the plate in the DSL in 2012.  He hit .281 with a .381 OBP.  In the field, he struggled making 20 errors in 34 games at SS.  He made three errors in 12 games at 2nd.  I expect him to start in the GCL but could earn a spot in Greeneville depending on who is drafted or signed.

Former Player News: 
Yesterday, Baseball America's transaction page reported that the Dodgers signed former G-Stro Victor Garate to a minor league deal.  

Friday, January 18, 2013

14 Former G-Stros in Big League Spring Training

With yesterday's snow here in Greeneville, thoughts of spring are in the forefront of my mind.  As of today, it appears 13 former Greeneville Astros players will be reporting to big league camp when spring training begins.

There are seven who will be in the Astros camp and seven others that are scattered among six other teams.  Players on a team's 40 man roster with have a (40) and those who have Non Roster Invites with be designated with a (NRI).

Jose Altuve (40) - Altuve is one of the few former G-Stros assured of a starting spot when camp breaks.  He was expected to be on the provisional roster for Venezuela in the WBC but did not appear on it when rosters were released this week.  So he will be in camp full time.

Brandon Barnes (40) - Barnes will be battling for a spot on the big league club.  At this point in his career he has played in more big league games (46) in one season than big league spring training games (26) over three seasons.

Jordan Lyles (40) - Will be looking to solidify his spot in the rotation and spend the full year in the majors after spending time at AAA each of the last two years.

J.D. Martinez (40) - Will try to show the baseball world that his wrist is healed and his swing is back. 

Delino DeShields (NRI) - No chance to make the big league club but a chance to show his progress to the front office against very good competition. 

Rene Garcia (NRI) - Will be his third year to get a chance to play in a spring training game.  In six games so far, he hasn't had a hit yet.

Chris Wallace (NRI) - It will also be the masked marvel's third spring training.  In 11 games in the previous two years, he has a .250 average.

Jordan Parraz (NRI) - Parraz had a great spring last year and then suffered hand injuries to each hand that shortened his best shot for a call up to the majors.

Troy Patton (40) -Coming off a successful season in the O's pen, Patton is a lock to make the team out of spring training. He avoided arbitration today, signing a $815,000 contract.

Juan Gutierrez (40) - Was dominate out of the pen in the LVBP and appears to be recovered from shoulder surgery.

Felipe Paulino (40) - Will start the year on the DL as he continues to heal from Tommy John surgery.  He should be back before the all star break.

Arcenio Leon (NRI) - Recently removed from the 40 man roster, Leon will be trying to make the Nashville AAA club out of spring training.

Fernando Abad (NRI) - He will be fighting for a spot in a Nationals bullpen devoid of lefties.  He has a pretty good shot unless a FA signing occurs. 

J.R. Towles (NRI) - Expect another year at AAA for J. R.

It is interesting to note that of the 14 players listed.  Only Barnes, Martinez, and DeShields  are not pitchers or catchers.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Whatever Happened to the 2005 Appy League Top 20

My post on what happened to the 2004 Top 20 list was well received so I decided to do one more update this off season. Let's look at the 2005 Baseball America Appy League Top 20. Here is the summary:

To date, six players have made their MLB debut, with Colby Rasmus being the most notable position player and Jesse Litsch being the most notable pitcher. Five players topped out at AAA, with Brandon Erbe being the only one who has a contract for 2013.  Seven players have made it as high as AA.  Tyler Herron is the lone one of that group who is still in affiliated ball after signing with the Nationals after a successful stint in Indy Ball in 2012 and a good winter ball season in Puerto Rico. One player made it just to High A ball and one player never made it out of rookie ball.

Max Ramirez gets the award for most frequent flier miles.  He has been drafted, traded, waived and signed with a total of eight teams.  Aaron Cunningham is a close second with six teams.

Sometimes players paths cross. In spring training, Cunningham and Brandon Snyder will be competing for OF playing time with the Rangers.  Last year, Herron and Eric Campbell were on the same indy ball team in the Northern League.

Here is the full list and update on each player:

In addition to the six who have made the MLB debut, 19 others have had at least a cup of coffee in the bigs. The 2005 list of players who didn't qualify for the Appy list because of lack of playing time in the league is impressive: Elvis Andrus, Yunel Escobar, Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Garza,  and Kevin Slowey. Each either got to the Appy too late in the season or left too early.  The one player who played the full year with descent numbers that might have been missed on the list is Chris Carter who made the Baseball America Top 100 Prospects list in 2009 (#76), 2010 (#28) and 2011 (#91). He hit .283 with an OPS of .835 as an 18 year old with Bristol.  He struck out 64 times in 65 games.  A trend that has followed him as he has climbed up the baseball career ladder.