There was a time in recent Astros history that the farm system was something that was looked upon similar to the red-headed step child. The farm was absolutely dismal and lacked any prospect with serious talent. The Astros fell under tons of scrutiny from main-stream media for neglecting the farm, especially after the 2007 Draft debacle. But, to be honest, much of the criticism was probably well deserved.
Times have changed with the addition of Bobby Heck to the Front Office. We have now completed three solid drafts and the first fruit has already made a solid debut. Unfortunately, the big league team has gone the opposite direction and struggled mightily. This has led to a lack of enthusiasm for the big league team and a bigger focus on the minor league prospects. There is no better than evidence of the focus on the minors than this year's draft coverage. I've never seen so much excitement and activity at this site.
This excitement for the minors is what has led to this new series: Minor League Recap. David has asked me to do a daily recap of the minor league games from the day before in order to help you, the readers, keep track of how our minor league affiliates are doing as well as how our top prosects are performing. This will post every weekday and Sunday mornings and will basically recap the games and highlight the standout player performances. Sunday's post will include the games from Friday and Saturday and hightlight the top performers of the week. This series will also include some analysis from time to time. I hope this series will be beneficial to all of you and hope you enjoy it.
This only seems right to start this series the morning after the first night every affiliate has a game, even DSL Astros had a game yesterday.
Round Rock Express
The Express lost last night 4-2. Shane Loux (6 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO) pitched a decent game. Yorman Bazardo pitched two inning in relief and allowed three hits, one run and one walk. Jonah Bayliss also pitched well, striking out two in a perfect inning of work. Tommy Everidge made a solid debut, going 3 for 4. Drew Meyer and David Cook both went 1 for 4 with a double. It was not a good offensive night for Round Rock.
Corpus Christi Hooks
The Hooks got shut out last night 5-0. Tyler Lumsden had some bad luck in seven innings of solid pitching. He allowed only four hits but also allowed four runs, only one of which was earned. He walked one and struck out three. The Hooks didn't manage to gain any extra base hits and only Jonathan Gaston was able to draw a walk. Jack Shuck, Jhon Florentino, Jonathan Gaston, James Van Ostrand and Lou Santangelo each recorded one hit.
Kyle Greenwalt got shelled. In just 2/3 IP he allowed three hits, seven runs (three earned) while walking three and striking out two. It was a very odd line, both good, bad and unlucky all at the same time. Leandro Cespedes (4 1/3 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB and 4 SO) came in relief and was decent. Patrick Urckfitz continued his solid year with 3 1/3 innings of one-hit ball with two walks and five strikeouts. Jay Austin was solid in the leadoff spot, going 2 for 5 with a home run. Albert Cartwright did one better, going 3 for 5 with a double, a home run and a stolen base. Brandon Barnes was 2 for 5 with a home run and double. Lee Cruz is back from Lancaster and went 2 for 4 with two doubles. David Flores went 2 for 4 with a double. Brandon Wikoff is also back and went 2 for 4. Can you tell this game was in Lancaster? David Flores tied this game in the bottom of the ninth with a single that scored Barnes. Since it's after midnight and I have to be up early in the morning, that's all I've got.
The Legends dominated Thursday with an offensive explosion and solid pitching. Tanner Bushue (5 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO) pitched well, with another five strikeout game. Michael Shurz (2 IP, 1 H, 1 SO, 0 BB, 0 R) and Colton Pitkin (2 IP, 3 H, 2 SO, 0 BB, 0 R) also pitched well. Miguel Arrendell was 4 for 5 with a double while JD Martinez was 1 for 2 with a double and a walk. Kody Hinze was 3 for 4 with a walk. Jake Goebbert was 2 for 3 with a walk. Jio Mier is batting a lot lower in the lineup now and was 2 for 3 with a double and two walks.
Tri-City had a solid win over the Vermont Lake Monsters. Robby Doran was decent with 4 innings of work, allowing five hits and two runs while walking one and striking out three. Chris Blazek, who is still rehabing, is doing great. He threw two perfect innings, striking out five and getting one ground out. David Martinez struck out one in 2/3 innings. Enrique Hernandez went 1 for 3 with a double. Mike Kvasnicka went 1 for 3 with a walk. Tyler Burnett drew his sixth walk of the season. Ben Heath was 1 for 2 with two walks. Daniel Adamson was hitless but had two walks. Renzo Tello was 2 for 4 with a home run. Frank Almonte was 2 for 4 with a double and a strikeout. Oscar Figueroa was 2 for 4.
Greeneville pulled out a tight 2-1 victory on the strength of some solid pitching. Ruben Alaniz signed as undrafted free agent last year and pitched his first professional game. In 5 innings, he allowed four hits and one run (none earned) while walking none and striking out three. Other standout pitchers were Garret Bullock (2 1/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO) and Travis Smink (1 1/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO). Leadoff hitter Jonathan Merrit went 1 for 4 with a home run, a walk and 2 strikeouts. Emilio King was 1 for 4 with a double and 2 strikeouts. Jhonny Medrano was 2 for 4 with a strikeout. Undrafted free agent Marcus Nidiffer went 2 for 3 with a double. The other Pedro Feliz went 2 for 3 and a walk and was caught stealing.
This game wasn't against that team in St. Louis, but with the way this season is going, I'll take a 2-0 win over the GCL Cardinals. Pitching was solid as the Cards were shut down by this year's 17-year old international signee from Venezuela, Luis Ordosgoitti (4 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO) and Dieudone Paul (4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 SO), who got the victory. Undrafted free agent and former Lamar Cardinal Matison Smith threw a 1-2-3 ninth to pick up his first save. The shortstop who was born in 1993, Jose Fernandez was the man at the plate, going 2 for 3. His 2-out double in the third inning plated the only two runs that were needed to secure a win.
The Astros beat the Dodgers 4-1 in a game that was completed early after just one out into the 7th inning. Leonardo Alayon won his second game by pitching 5 2/3 innings, allowing four hits and a run with two walks and a strikeout. Elias De Leon pitched 2/3 innings, allowing one walk, no hits and striking out two. Offensively, second baseman Yonathan Meija continued to impress and led the team by going 2 for 3. Catcher Franny Polanco went 1 for 3 with a double and two RBIs. First baseman Carlos Alcantara went 2 for 3. Left fielder Mesac Laguna went 1 for 2 with a walk and an RBI.
I want to highlight a few players.
Ruben Alaniz, as mentioned before, was an undrafted free agent last year. He is from McAllen and was signed after playing some summer ball. Since he didn't sign until August, he didn't play any pro ball last year. So, this is his first year of pro ball straight out of high school. He fits the Bobby Heck mold; he's 6-foot-4, 175 pounds, giving him a tall and projectible frame that Heck loves. He wasn't drafted due to an injury his senior year and a school swine flu outbreak that delayed many of his games. He ended up signing for $160K which is like the signing bonuses for the top 10 rounds. He throws 89-95 and is a kid to look out for.
Luis Ordosgoitti is a name I'll be keeping an eye on. Most international signees spend a season in the short season international leagues, but this kid is different. He'll turn 18 in September, so he's younger than most other high school kids drafted. But, he is playing in an American professional league already and seems like a guy Bobby Heck would draft. He's a big, projectible right-hander. Sound familiar? Standing 6-4 and weighing 180 lbs., he has room to fill out. Unfortunately, I don't have anything else on him.