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.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Eyewitness Report: 7/28/13 Greeneville 10 - Pulaski 1 - How A Pitchers Duel Turned Into A Blow Out

When you get to the game and the starters ERAs are 1.83 and 1.59 respectively, you settle in for a pitchers duel.  That is how the game played out for the first five innings.  But then Greeneville's bats exploded for 10 runs in their last three at bats to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 10-1 victory.  Here are more observations from the game.

On The Mound
Jandel Gustave only allowed one hit in six innings but he walked six batters.  The walks came in pairs, with two each in the first, third and fifth innings. He wasn't wild, just missing by little bits.  I had his pitch count at 75 with only 35 for strikes. Despite his control issues, he still fanned four batter and only allowed one of his walks to score.  He left after five innings down 1-0.

Chris Munnelly made his Greeneville debut pitching two innings of no hit, shut out ball. He struck out two hitters and walked one.  The only other runner reached on an error when the ball was knocked out of a glove on a tag play at first.  Munnelly's curve ball appeared to be his best pitch tonight.

Krishawn Holley closed out the game with an effective inning, allowing just one hit.

It was quite an outing from the pitching staff.

At The Plate
The Astros bats were kept in check for the first five innings.  Pulaski starter, Eddie Campbell, used effective location of multiple pitches.

In the first five innings, the Astros batters were 3 for 15 with one walk and five strike outs.
In the final three at bats, the G-Stros batters were 11 for 18 with three walks, four strike outs and 10 runs scored - all earned.

Chase McDonald reached base in each of his four plate appearances.  He had a single, a double, two walks, two RBI and two runs scored.

Brian Holberton hit his first HR at Pioneer Park; a two run blast in the sixth that gave Greeneville the lead 2-1.  He also singled and scored in the 8th.

Brett Phillips laid down one of the sweetest bunt hits I have seen for one of his two singles on the night.  Phillips pushed a bunt past the pitchers out stretched glove and no play at first was made.  He later scored two runs after reaching via a walk and single.

Three other G-Stros had two hits.  Tanner Mathis and Thomas Lindauer both produced a single and a double and Juan Santana had two singles.

Only Edwin Gomez didn't join the hit parade for Greeneville.  He went 0 for 4 with 4 Ks.  The part of that that concerned me was that he only saw 13 pitches on the night.  The first pitch he saw of the night was a ball, after that it was twelve straight strikes and four straight Ks.  Obviously something is wrong there.

In The Field
Mathis gets the Oscar for selling a sliding short hop grab as a catch in the second inning.  From my vantage point, it appeared the ball bounced into his glove.  The Pulaski manager and bench agreed with me.  But Mathis raised his glove high and the home plate ump signaled out.

Lindauer started a nice 6-4-3 double play in the fifth inning.  The ball was hit to his right.  He ranged over, grabbed the ball and threw across his body to start the double play.  Juan Santana made a nice quick turn to complete the twin killing.

The other nice play was made by McDonald at first on a high pop fly in foul territory.  He adjusted to the ball at the last minute making a lunge to his right to secure the ball to end the sixth inning.

The only error of the game was charged to McDonald.  He was playing in anticipating a bunt from the speedy Aaron Barbosa.  Barbosa didn't bunt.  He chopped a ball down the first baseline that McDonald had to retreat to retrieve.  When he did, Munnelly had not made it in time to cover first.  McDonald made an attempt to tag Barbosa before he reached the bag safely but the ball was knocked out of McDonalds glove during the attempt.  Heck of an effort but charged with the error none the less.

Nice team win for the G-Stros.  The pitching was very good, the offense produced late in the game and the defense was solid.  They end the series against a very good Pulaski team two games in front of the streaking Kingsport Mets.  They start a three game series against the Burlington Royals (17-19) tomorrow.

Eyewitness Report - 7/27/13 - Pulaski Pulls Out Two Wins From G-Stros

In what could be a potential play off preview, the Pulaski Mariners pulled out two late comebacks to defeat the Greeneville Astros twice Saturday night.  The first game was the conclusion of Friday's suspended game.  The Mariners scored four runs in the in the seventh to take a 5-4 decision.  Then in the seven inning night cap, they got a two run homer in the sixth to secure a 2-1 win.  Here is a closer look at what I observed last night.

Game 1 - Pulaski 5, Greeneville 4

The game picked up with Greeneville up 2-1 in the bottom of the 2nd.

On the Mound

Christian Garcia threw three very effective innings.  His fast ball sat in the upper 80's but he mixed speeds well and keep batters guessing.  He fanned five in the three innings and retired the first 8 batters he faced.  He had a walk and a hit batter but no base hits.

Sidewinder Ryan Connolly came in next and was effective in the 6th before the wheels came off in the 7th.  He struck out a batter to start the 7th but then a short hop couldn't be handled by Tyler White at third for an E-5.  The next three batters followed with a triple, a single and a triple.  An inning that started as a 4-1 lead ended with a 5-4 deficit.

Tyler Brunnemann finished off the game.  I was pleased to see that some improvement in his mechanics.  When I saw him earlier in the year, he would touch the ground with his glove on his follow through.  Now he tucks the glove to his chest as he follows through.  He is not repeating the tuck perfectly as it was sometimes at his chest and sometimes at his hip but it shows improvement.  He only had one strike out but induced three ground balls and two pop outs to short.  He gave up one hit, a double.

At the Plate

Brett Phillips started the third off with a hard ground ball inside the bag at third for a double.  It is fun to watch him run.  He is fast! He also reached on a walk.

Edwin Gomez reached base three times with a walk and two singles.  However he was .500 in getting out of base running goofs.  In the third, with the bases loaded, Tyler White hit a fly ball to shallow right field.  Phillips was tagging on the play but did not try to advance.  However, Gomez took off from second and was almost to third when the throw reached the catcher.  The catcher threw to second to try to get Gomez coming back to the bag but the ball ended up in center and both Phillips and Gomez scored.

He wasn't as fortunate in the seventh.  He scorched a ball that appeared to be leaving the yard but bounced off the top of the fence.  He was nabbed at second with a great throw from the left fielder.  Some people sitting around me said Gomez had started his home run trot, I don't know if this is accurate because I was trying to follow the trajectory of the ball.  If he was, I am sure the coaching staff will let him hear about it.  If not, it was a great play by the Mariners.

Those three were the only players with hits for the continuation portion of the game.  Ariel Ovando and Darwin Rivera both took walks but no one else reached base.

In The Field

Other than the error by White on a tough play coming in on a short hop, the defense looked pretty good.  Darwin Rivera was at 2nd and looked pretty comfortable there.  More so than he has looked at third. 

Game 2: Pulaski 2 - Greeneville 1:

This game was a seven inning game due to the completion of the suspended game.

On The Mound

Chris Lee was impressive last night.  Lee's fastball was sitting in the 93-95 range (thanks to the scout two rows in front for holding his radar gun in a position so I could peek) and his slider was getting a great many swings and misses.  His delivery was smooth and effortless.  I had him at 78 pitches when he was pulled with one out in the sixth with 53 being for strikes (68%). I also had him with first pitch strikes to 17 of the 24 batters he faced (71%).

He led off the second striking out the Pulaski clean up hitter on three pitches. The final pitch resulted in the Pulaski hitter winding up on the seat of his pants after an unsuccessful attempt to check his swing. He ended up striking out five batters on the night.  All of them swinging.

He was helped by the ground rules in the fourth.  After striking out the first two batters, the next batter reached on a hit to short stop.  Thomas Lindauer made a nice backhanded play on a sharply hit ball but couldn't recover for the throw.  The next batter hit a ball into the right field corner that went under the gate for a ground rule double.  If not for the gate being there, it would have been an RBI triple - Pulaski's third of the evening.

In the sixth, Lee had a different kind of luck. After hitting the first batter, he induced a ground ball to second. Marc Wik had to come in to field the ball and made a swipe at the runner going by before throwing to first.  The umpire ruled Wik didn't tag the runner going to second.  Both Wik and Lindauer were adamant the tag had been made.  From my angle, it appeared the umpire made the safe sign before Wik even attempted the tag. 

Lee had the next batter in a 1-2 count and left a pitch up in the zone that was sent over the left field wall.  After giving up a bunt hit to the next batter, his night was done.  He deserved a better fate than taking the loss.

Gonzalo Sanudo came into finish off game getting five straight outs.  Four of them were air outs and three went to the outfield.

At The Plate

When you get three hits as a team, there is not too much to write about here.

Thomas Lindauer had the big hit of the night, a RBI double to left that scored Wallace Gonzalez from first.  

Marc Wik singled in the first after fouling off five pitches.  He was in an 0-2 whole and ended up seeing a total of eight pitches that at bat before reaching on a bouncer up the middle.  He was robbed of another single by a nice play by the second baseman to lead off the sixth.

Tyler White had a solid single to left to lead off the fourth but was erased on a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.

Angel Ibanez hit a ball hard up the middle that the short stop made a nice play on to prevent him from having a hit on the night.

A bit of good news - the Mariners are second in the league in most strike outs by their pitchers.  They came into the games just two K's behind the G-Stros pitchers.  In the 16 innings played in the series so far, G-Stro batters have just five strike outs.  Meanwhile the G-Stro pitchers added 15 to their total. 

In The Field

Lindauer also made the play of the game in the field as well.  He climbed the ladder and nabbed a line drive to end the fifth inning.

Ibanez made a nice play at third in the sixth.  With a runner on third, he fielded a ground ball on a short hop and made a nice throw to catcher Ricky Gingras to get the runner who had been going on contact.

Tyler White made a nice play at first on a hard hit ball in the second inning.  


After being 10-1 in one run games, they lost two last night.  Just not enough offense to get the job done.  

Friday, July 26, 2013

G-Stros Pitching Leads Way

The 2013 Greeneville Astros got off to a 1-5 start.  During that stretch, they allowed 40 runs. That is averaging giving up 6.67 runs per game.  In the 27 games since then, the G-Stros are 22-5 and have only given up 67 runs.  That is an average of 2.48 runs per game.  That is a dramatic difference and points to the strength of this edition of the Greeneville Astros.  Pitching.  Let's look closer at the team pitching stats.

Leading The League As A Team
Team ERA is 2.51, which leads the league by a comfortable half a run margin.

They are tied for the most shutouts with four.

The bullpen has the most saves with 14 and the most holds with 13.

They are second in the league allowing just 233 hits and tied for the fewest walks with 89.  But together, they lead the league with the lowest WHIP with 1.11.

They lead the league with 312 strikeouts.

They have allowed the second fewest HR with 9.

They have given up the second fewest runs with 107 but have given up the fewest earned runs with 81.

The only area they are not in first or second is in hit batters.  They have hit 17 batters which is the fifth most.

Individual Leaders
Despite leading the league as a team in ERA by a large margin, only Frederick Tiburcio is listed in the league leaders for ERA.  He is 2nd with a 1.09 ERA.

Only Chris Lee is in the top 10 for strike outs.  He is tied for 5th with 32 Ks.  Tiburcio is 11th with 30.

Gonzalo Sanudo and J.D. Osborne are tied for second in saves with six each.  Osborne has already been promoted.

Tyler Brunnemann is in second with three holds, while Krishawn Holley and Austin Chrismon are tied for third with two each.

There is no G-Stro in the top 22 for hits allowed!

Team Effort
The domination of the pitching staff with the relatively light representation on the individual leader board shows that this is definitely a team effort.  

Nine pitchers have more strike outs than innings pitched. 

Fourteen pitchers have a WHIP under 1.20.

Ten pitchers have an ERA below 3.00.

Jordan Mills highlights this team effort.  He has appeared in eight games with four of them being starts.  He has a hold and a save as well.  In 25 innings pitched, he has a 1.08 ERA, a 0.92 WHIP and 26 strikeouts.  Whatever he has been asked to do for this team he has done it and done it well.

Definitely a fun pitching staff to watch. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Former G-Stros In The Majors At The Break

The MLB All Star break is upon us.  Now is a good time to do a look at the former Greeneville Astros who are in the majors and see how they are doing.

Let's start by looking at those who play for the Astros:

Jose Altuve  (2008,09) - Altuve started off the year very hot but has struggled a little since missing time due to a collision with Jimmy Parades in right field and the death of his grandmother.  His hitting totals for the pre-all star portion of the schedule are .280/.315/.352.  The break may be just what he needs.

In the field, he has been solid.  He leads all second basemen in the majors with 75 double plays turned.  He only turned 83 in all of 2012.  The team record for double plays turned by a second baseman is 117 set by Craig Biggio in 1999.  Altuve is on pace for 58 more which would bring him to 133 for the season.  In the last 20 years, only three second baseman have turned 130 or more double plays in a single season.  They are: Robinson Cano (136 - 2007), Fernando Vina (135 -1998) and Ronnie Belliard (130 - 2000). 

Altuve recently signed a contract extension with the Astros to keep him with the team through 2017 with a team option for 2018 & 1019 as well. 

Brandon Barnes leads off second in a spring training game 2013 (Photo property of Appy Astros)

Brandon Barnes (2005,06) -  Barnes played in 75 games before the all star break this season. Despite hitting just .232 on the season so far, Barnes is showing a consistent ability to hit left handed pitching.  In 70 at bats against lefties, he is hitting .314.

Barnes' defense is turning into his calling card.  There are currently 19 videos on MLB.com of Barnes highlighting his defense. In addition to the great diving catches, he also has five outfield assist.

His defense plus the ability to hit lefties my keep him in the majors for several years.

Jose Cisnero (2009) - Cisnero has been a pleasant surprise out of the bullpen for the Astros.  He has become a dependable part of the back end of the bullpen.  In 37 2/3 innings pitched he has struck out 37 batters while turning out a 2.87 ERA.  When you consider that he allowed nine of his 12 earned runs in two outings, his numbers look even better.  Fifteen of the 20 times he has been called on to pitch, he has returned to the dugout with no runs accounted to him.

Jordan Lyles (2008) -  Lyles didn't start the year on the MLB roster. He was added in early May and has made 14 starts for the Astros thus far.  The 23 year old is growing up on the job and showing progress this year.  The highlight of the year for him was a run of six starts from May 22 to June 18 where he pitched 39 2/3 innings and allowed just seven runs.   He goes into the break with a 4.02 ERA and 1.36 WHIP.

J.D. Martinez (2009) -  Martinez was heading to AAA out of spring training but injuries put him on the opening day roster.  He too has battled some injuries but appeared to be putting it together right as the all star break arrived.  For the season, Martinez is hitting .256/.281/.394 in 72 games.  For the month of July, he was hitting .300/.317/.350. 

Now let's look across the rest of the teams to find out how former G-Stros are doing in 2013.

Fernando Abad (2007) - Abad was called up to Washington in late May after starting the season in AAA.  Since his arrival, he has been a key part of the National's bullpen.  He has appeared in 20 games (19 2/3 innings pitched.  During that time, he has struck out 21 batters and allowed just 4 runs for a 1.83 ERA.

J.C. Gutierrez (2004) -  Gutierrez was the last man to make the Royals bullpen out of spring training.  He has had an up and down year thus far.  He had a 6.14 ERA in April but bounced back with 1.08 and 2.00 ERAs in May & June respectively.  July has been a little rough with a 5.97 ERA in his four appearances so far.  He has not allowed any of the 11 runners he has inherited to score.

Troy Patton (2004) -  Patton struggled with some command issues with his fastball in April and May but has righted the ship.  Since he gave up two runs in 1 2/3 innings in Houston on 6/7/13, he has appeared in 14 games and has give up just one run in 10 innings pitched.  During that span, he has allowed just 9 hits, has not walked a batter and has struck out 9.  Patton and the Orioles are looking to make another playoff run this season. They are 4.5 games back of Boston for the division led and 1.5 games back of the final wild card spot behind Texas.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Altuve Signed to Contract Extention with Astros!

Exciting news out of Houston today.  Former Greeneville Astro Jose Altuve has signed a long term contract extension according to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com.  Details are not know yet but McTaggart states:

The Astros are likely buying out Altuve’s arbitration years by signing him to the deal. He was scheduled to be arbitration eligible next year and a free agent following the 2016 season.

Altuve is a fan favorite among G-Stros and Astros fans.  Here's hoping this is the continuation of a good relationship.  While this news excites me in hopes that Altuve will remain with the Astros, the realist in me also is aware that a deal like this also makes Altuve more attractive to the trade market because he is now young and cost controlled for a period of time. 

Altuve becomes the first former G-Stro to sign a long term deal with any team.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Beau Torbert's Number Retired by Sioux Falls Canaries

Beau Torbert, a member of the 2004 Greeneville Astros, was honored last night by the Sioux Falls Canaries of the independent league American Association.  He was named as the inaugural member of their Hall of Fame and had his #7 retired. 

Here is what folks are saying about Torbert and his honor:

Sioux Falls Argus Leader: 

He’s the best player I’ve seen in a Canaries/Pheasants uniform, and a good dude who clearly was genuinely moved by the honor. And the Canaries did a nice job of not overdoing it with the ceremony. It was well done.

Beau's hometown paper

Sioux Falls local television station video on Torbert. 

Torbert was drafted in the 17th round out of Faulkner University in Montgomery, Alabama. He spent 2004 with Greeneville and climbed the ladder in the Astros system up to AAA Round Rock before his release in 2007.  He then played three years of independent ball in Sioux Falls.  He was named Baseball America's Independent Player of the Year in 2010. He signed with the Braves as a minor league free agent but was released at the end of spring training. 

After one season of being a hitting coach for the Lincoln Saltdogs, Torbert now resides in the Sioux Falls area and works for the Canaries front office as their Baseball Outreach Coordinator.

Congrats to Beau on the honor and best of luck in his future endeavors. 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Eyewitness Report 7/5/13: Greeneville 1 Bristol 4

When I saw that Jandel Gustave was on the mound tonight, I made sure I could be at Pioneer Park.  When I got there I saw the line up had three first time starters included.  Brian Holberton and Chase McDonald were making their pro debuts and Brett Phillips was making his Greeneville debut. It was a good night to be at the ballpark.  Here are my observations:

On The Mound: 

Jandel Gustave got off to a rough start in the first.  After a strike out looking, he walked the next two batters, the second coming in a 10 pitch at bat.  After a fly out and a single, Gustave got the last out with a swinging strike out.  He ended up throwing 31 pitches in the first frame and that limited his night to just four innings.  Of those 31 pitches, 18 were for strikes (unofficial numbers from my personal score book).  He followed that inning up with innings of 12, 12 and 17 pitches respectively.  So he really settled down.

Gustave is a pitcher to be excited about.  His delivery is very easy and to be hitting mid to upper 90's out of a 6'2 160 frame is impressive. The two hits that came off of him were hits taken the other way through the SS/3B hole.  They were nice pieces of hitting.  His fast ball has good zip.  There were several late swings and several foul balls that were poked into the seats because batters weren't getting around on him.  His slider showed nice movement and there were a couple of sliders that were down right nasty. He ended the night with 72 pitchers - 43 for strikes (60%). He threw first pitch strikes to 11 of the 17 batters he faced - again by my unofficial count.

The high point for me is that we know based on his previous stats, that he has had control issues.  For him to walk two in the first inning and regain his composure to only walk one more shows positive development. 

Austin Chrismon made his pro debut last night.  After nicking the first batter on the sleeve, he then got the next three batters out.  One out came on due to him fielding his position well.  With a runner at second, he gloved a hot shot back at him.  He made the runner at second dive back to the bag, removing any chance of him advancing and then threw out the batter at first. 

Christian Garcia came in in the sixth and pitched around an error for an effective inning.  In the seventh, he walked two batters with one out and then allowed a single that scored the first runner.  That ended his night.

Gerardo Ramirez entered the game with runners on the corners and allowed both runners to score before getting the last out.  He gave up a sac fly to the first batter and then surrendered a double to left that plated the final run of the game.  He ended up finishing the night on the mound with a total of 2 2/3 innings pitched.

Overall, it was the walks that did the G-Stros pitching in.  Three of the four runs allowed reached via base on balls.  There is no defense against the walk. 

At The Plate:
It was one of those nights where the Astros hit several balls hard, they just hit them right at people. I had atleast four line drives that were either right at fielders or required the fielder to make a nice play.

Brett Phillips is fast.  He made two routine grounders close plays with his hustle down the line.  His final at bat of the night was a seven pitch walk where he fouled off several close pitches.

David Mayfield (Jack) wasn't lucky last night.  His first at bat, he hit a hard bouncer up the middle that the pitcher deflected to the second baseman for a 1-4-3 put out. He then hit a line drive in his fourth at bat that the SS made a nice ranging catch on.  He finished the night for 5 but he had better at bats than that indicates.

Bobby Borchering reached base three times in four plate appearances. A single and two walks.

Chase McDonald went 1 for 4 in his pro debut.  He got a single in his first at bat and then lined out to left and center respectively in his next two at bats before striking out in his final at bat.  He is one big guy.  He was wearing number 62 on his uniform and it was appropriate for him to be wearing a linebacker type number.  He makes solid contact.

Marc Wik turned a rough night around.  After striking out in his first two at bats, he walked in the seventh and lead off the ninth with a single to left. 

Overall, Greeneville just couldn't get the big hit.  They went 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position.  Two of the line drive outs in mentioned earlier were to end an inning with a runner on base.

The pitcher who started for Bristol, Scott Carroll, was on rehab assignment from AAA.  He missed all of last season so I assume his is working his way back from a surgery of some kind.  The second pitcher was the White Sox second round draft pick this season, Tyler Danish.  So they were facing some pretty good pitching but that is most nights in pro baseball.

In The Field
Brian Holberton looked pretty good behind the plate.  He got a lot of work blocking balls in the dirt.  He did allow one passed ball that was a low pitch that the scorer felt he should have blocked.  He was apparently a little amped up for the game.  He made several throws down to second during warm ups and one throw during a stolen base attempt that were fielded by the center fielder because they had easily cleared second base.  Later in the night, he made a nice throw on a ball in the dirt that made a place closer than I thought it would be.

Jack Mayfield was smooth at shortstop.  He had four assist and only one was routine.  The rest were with him ranging to either side and making snap throws to first.  He made them look easy.

Brett Phillips didn't get much action in center but he showed flashes when he did.  He almost made a nice diving catch on a ball he got a good jump on.  On the sac fly, he made a strong throw to third from deep in center.

Darwin Rivera made his seventh error of the year at third with a bad throw to first. 

This loss ended the G-Stros seven game winning streak.  They play Bristol again tonight and then head on the road for seven games in six days. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Catcher Development: Throwing Out More Runners

The other day I saw this tweet:
That is an impressive stat and puts him in impressive company.  It got me thinking about how well Roberto Pena has been throwing out runners this season and it made me curious about how much growth this showed. The growth with Pena was significant and I wondered if it was just him or were other catchers in the Astros organization showing similar growth. So I went back and looked across the system at each catcher who had caught in at least 20 games this season and compared their 2012 stolen base percentage (SB%) to their 2013 SB%.  Here is what I found:

As you can see, several players have made significant jumps in their SB%.  Pena's is the biggest jump but Rene Garcia & Carlos Perez both jumping more than 10% is also impressive.  Especially since they are performing at higher levels. 

Max Stassi just misses the 10% jump and he too is at a higher level. 

As for the others, lets start with Tyler Heineman. I am not going to quibble with -1% drop when you jump from short season A ball to Hi A ball. His number is still impressive.  Most players would show a greater drop making that jump.

Jobduan Morales is the only young guy not showing growth.  But he is still somewhat still raw.  In five seasons, he has only caught 144 games.  Never more than 34 in a season and he has caught 33 this year. 

Cody Clark is a journeyman and not really a focus of development.

The Astros have talked about improving the receiving skills of their catchers using analysis developed my Mike Fast.  But this data indicates they also may have been working on something that has improved the development of their catchers in throwing out runners attempting to steal bases.  Having a catcher at each of your full season affiliates throwing out 40% or more would be base stealers is impressive. Something worth keeping an eye on.

Velasquez Dominating in Quad Cities

Vincent Velasquez was drafted in the second round in 2010.  He had a solid start to his pro career in Greeneville.  But as his pitch count was building, he suffered an injury that would cause him to miss the entire 2011 season.  This caused him to fall off of some people's radar as a prospect. He is trying to fix that this season.  After his performance last night, he now has 93 strike outs in 81 innings pitched.  That number leads the Midwest League.

The Quad City Times published a feature on Velasquez this morning that gives us some insight into this rising prospect. Here are some of the highlights:

What shapes his approach on the mound.
The bulldog-like approach he carries with him comes naturally.
“It’s in my genes,’’ Velasquez said. “My father was a Marine and I have two brothers who are Marines. We all like to compete and that’s part of who I am. I like the challenge.’’
His view of the surgery.
“The setback and surgery I had tested me mentally as much as anything and I’m determined to work my way beyond it and have a successful career,’’ Velaquez said. “There are no worries with it now. I have work to do, but I’ll keep at it every time I go out and compete.’’
What his manager has to say about him.
“He’s making progress  and in his first full season after Tommy John, competing for the full season is an important step for him,’’ River Bandits manager Omar Lopez said. “He’s making progress, started hot, has made a few adjustments in his pitch sequence and fastball command and seems to be on the right track again.’’

Monday, July 1, 2013

Appy Astros Alumni of the Month: June 2013

June is a fun month. The short season teams have started playing.  Most of the full season teams have had their all star games.  Let's see which former G-Stros' June was more fun because of their performances.  We won't look at the short season teams this month because two weeks isn't really enough time to assess performances yet.

Quad Cities: 

Hitters - 
Who else but Carlos Correa.  Correa hit .370/.413/.510 for the month. He has brought his average up to .323 for the season after a very sluggish start. Fun stat for Correa - Out of his 289 plate appearances so far, only six have been against pitchers younger than him and he has no hits against the younger pitchers.  In the 283 plate appearances against older pitchers, he is hitting .332.  

Honorable mention to Jesse Wierzbicki who hit .286/.351/.417 for the month of June.

Pitchers - 
Lance McCullers Jr. continues to have an impressive season in Quad Cities.  McCullars struck out 33 batters in 27 1/3 innings pitched with a 2.30 ERA.

Honorable mention to Daniel Minor who had a 2.76 ERA in 16 1/3 innings before he went on the DL.


Hitters - 
Delino DeShields had another solid month in June.  He hit .280/.370/.366.  He also stole 8 bases to bring his season total to 20 on the season.  He has really settled in as a 20 year old playing in the Cal. League.

Pitchers - 
Luis Cruz has bounced back from a rough May and had an outstanding June.  In 31 2/3 innings pitched, he allowed just 22 hits and seven walks for a WHIP of 0.906.  He had an impressive total of 40 strike outs for the month! 

Corpus Christi

Hitters - 
Jonathan Meyer had another solid month hitting.280 with eight doubles and five home runs for a .510 slugging percentage.

Pitchers - 
David Martinez continues to put up impressive numbers this season.  In 30 2/3 June innings, he gave up just 21 hits and two walks while striking out 24 batters.  Opponents hit just .193 against him in June.

Oklahoma City
There were only two former G-Stros on the roster at any point in time this month. Nether put up numbers worthy of recognition.

Major Leagues

Jose Altuve continues to be the most consistent Astro at the plate  Even in a down month (.275
average) he still lead the time in batting average. 

Pitchers - 
Jose Cisnero struck out 14 batters in 11 2/3 innings pitched (8 games).  He had not given up a run in June until his final outing. He ended the month with a 0.77 ERA.  

Honorable mention to Troy Patton who found his grove again in June.  In 12 appearances (12 1/3 IP) he fanned 12 batters and did not walk a batter after giving up eight free passes in May. ERA for June was 1.46

Fernando Abad also gets a honorable mention with his performance out of the National's bullpen.  In 12 games (12 1/3 IP) he struck out 14 batters and also walked no one.  His June ERA was also 1.46

Finally, I feel like J.C. Gutierrez deserves a mention as well.  In limited action, he fanned eight batters in nine innings of pitching for the Royals.  He finished June with a 2.00 ERA.