I've searched the internet for Astro/baseball factoids that only take a few moments to decipher. We start off in the realm of home runs, specifically those off the bat of rookie Brett Wallace. Though he has hit only two in his young career, our first baseman's longest (hit last week) rates as the longest of any Astro this season. For what it's worth, Lance Berkman has the longest (453') and shortest (326') home runs for the Astros in 2010. The longest home run hit by anyone was a 485 footer knocked by Texas Ranger Josh Hamilton off our former ace starter, Roy Oswalt.
As Clack noted on Saturday, the Astros, along with fourteen other clubs, watched a bullpen session held by former Texas A&M Aggie, Barret Loux. Representatives for Loux have said that they would like to have a deal finished by later this fall so that the pitcher knows where he will be pitching come February 2011. To me, it would appear that the Astros would have as good a chance at signing Loux as any team in the majors, if not a better chance than most. His roots are in the Houston area, and just as important for Loux's prospects at advancing quickly through a system, the Astros' minor league cupboard is still relatively bare. The injury concerns are legitimate, but if the Astros' medical staff gives Bobby Heck/Ed Wade the thumbs up, a Barret Loux signing could be a coup for our organization.
I found a new website on Sunday that was immediately bookmarked, Seamheads.com. These baseball maniacs write about subjects ranging from the New York Giants' season from 1889 to Derek Jeter's hit batsman that wasn't. Last week, they saw a connection that I had heard nothing about prior to coming to this site: the shared history of Astro pitcher Nelson Figueroa and Astro killer (at least last week) Jay Gibbons of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The pair had both played for an Independent League team based out of Long Island, New York (albeit at different times) before they began play for their current employers. If you read the article, you'll see last weekend's series was full of for Independent Leaguers.
Baseball America released it's First and Second Minor League All Star Teams a little while ago, and Jordan Lyles wasn't on either list. Looking at the names of the pitchers who did make the teams: Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Moore, Julio Teheran and Brandon Beachy, you can understand how Lyles wasn't in the mix, but it's still just a little surprising that a 19/20 year old who excelled in AA and pitched decently for the Express (5.40 ERA, 22 K, 11 BB in six starts). As much as we all love this kid, the nation seems to be holding back the effusive praise that we have embraced. This is probably to be expected, seeing as how Lyles doesn't have the "stuff" that the top tier starters do, but at some point Lyles' results, and success on the field will be too much for everyone to ignore.
Speaking of prospects more highly regarded than Lyles, Toronto Blue Jay hurler Kyle Drabek made his major league debut this past week. The son of former Astro and Cy Young winner Doug Drabek, Kyle did about as well as you could expect from a 22 year old without AAA experience, going six innings, striking out five and allowing nine hits. The biggest piece of the haul Toronto got in exchange for Roy Halladay, there is quite a bit of pressure on Drabek to succeed as a Jay. He's a much heralded name for a team with a small payroll, so how he and his young brethren go, so will go Toronto.
A quick comparison of Lyles and Drabek's AA careers goes something like this:
Lyles would appear to have had the more successful stint in AA, but it's difficult to compare minor league performances based purely on statistics, so I'll leave that to those better versed in judging the lower levels of professional baseball. It does say something though, that for as highly praised as Drabek is, Jordan Lyles' own performances stand up pretty well by comparison.