Spring Training News
Brad Peacock, acquired in the Jed Lowrie trade with the Oakland Athletics, was one of many recent pitching acquisitions fighting for a spot on the Astros pitching staff. In 14.2 Spring Training innings he struck out fourteen batters while walking only four. A decisions still needs to be made about whether he'll be pitching in the rotation or out of the bullpen.
Brandon Barnes has done everything asked of him this Spring. His football mentality and hard work go right along with the environment that Bo Porter has created in the Astros clubhouse so it's not exactly a surprise that he's made this club. This Spring Barnes has bashed four homeruns which does nothing to predict his production during the regular season but certainly makes him an interesting player to watch on the offensive side of the ball. With Chris Carter, Justin Maxwell and Rick Ankiel expected to be the everyday starters expect Barnes to come in as a late inning defensive replacement or even possibly platoon with Ankiel when a lefty is on the mound. The Astros have said the outfield will be fluid so I also would expect to see Barnes starting some games in Oakland and other ballparks with a big outfield that needs to be covered.
Brandon Laird was also informed he would be starting the year in AAA. Laird being with the team this long is a testament to how well he played this Spring which forced the Astros decision makers to take a long hard look at the possibility of adding him to the 25-man roster. Laird not being on the 40-man roster and having a less than stellar track record in the minors, ultimately, did him in.
McTaggart has got quotes from each of those players so be sure to check out his post.\
Looks like the Astros have just about set their roster. Here's Brian T. Smith with some other player decisions:
#Astros' Crowe, Laird, Chapman, Garcia, J. Martinez won't make team. Lo optioned.— Brian T. Smith (@ChronAstros) March 25, 2013
Decisions remain for the fourth and fifth spots in the rotation as well as three spots in the bullpen that have four players fighting for a spot: Edgar Gonzalez, Josh Fields, Hector Ambriz and Rhiner Cruz.
Astros Make A Trade
In other news the Astros have acquired right-handed pitcher Gonzalo Sanudo for Mike Kvasnicka, according to Dustin Morse:
MINORS: @twins acquire OF Mike Kvasnicka from Astros in exchange for RHP Gonzalo Sanudo. Kvasnicka was a Gopher & 33rd overall pick in '10— Dustin Morse (@Twins_morsecode) March 25, 2013
Mike Kvasnicka was drafted in the supplemental round of the 2010 draft out of the University of Minnesota. He returns to Minnesota as a prospect that has failed to produce in the Astros minor league system. In 284 games between low-A and A, Kvasnicka hit .245/.306/.374 while struggling to find a position on the field. He's split time playing in right field, third base, first base and catcher. He will be 24 next season.
Gonzalo Sanudo is a 21 year old right-handed pitcher who posted a 3.34 ERA in 56.2 innings for the Twins rookie Gulf Coast League in 2011 and 2012. He's pitched primarily out of the bullpen striking out 8.7 batters per nine innings (SO/9) while walking on 1.4 batters per nine innings (BB/9). Anytime you can trade a 24 year old prospect who hasn't gotten out of A ball for a 21 year old prospect I consider that a win.
TCB Trade Reaction
Kvasnicka really didn't have a place with the Astros after all the 2012-2013 acquisitions, and his future looked like minor league depth at best here. Perhaps he can get a clearer shot with the Twins. Young arms are always welcome. Just based on how he was used in the GCL, looks like he's probably a reliever.
I think it's as much a statement about Kvasnicka as anything else. He struggled in his second year in Lexington, with a 23.4% strikeout rate and a 85 wRC+.
The fact that we were able to get an arm with any intrigue at all out of him is exceptional.
Local guy. He could, theoretically, be a change of scenery candidate. He was a pretty good outfield at the U. of Minnesota before the move behind the plate, and he has athleticism and is a switch-hitter. I wouldn't be surprised if they moved him back to the outfield. Most of his pre-draft value came from the move behind the plate, but it never made a ton of sense to me.
To clarify -- he always had a big arm, but a slow one. And he just never really took to the catcher position.
It's a trade that's worth a shot. In all honesty, Kvasnicka really doesn't provide any value to this organization as there's players that rank well ahead of him in all three positions that he can play. His bat just doesn't warrant a spot in this organization. Sanudo is a wild card with hardly any information out there on him. He has a good frame and K/BB numbers in the GCL. He was signed out of Mexico by the Twins and that's an area that Luhnow is targeting. He's a reliever and all bets are off if he ever provides anything, but Kvasnicka probably wasn't either.
I can't help but like the move, because Mike Kvasnicka probably isn't long for professional baseball, honestly. If you don't want to get upset today, stay away from looking at the players drafted right after Kvasnicka.I don't know anything about Sanudo, but the thing that immediately jumps out to me is that it isn't generally a good thing to be in the GCL as a 20 year old unless you were drafted that year and are just getting your feet wet, but relievers follow strange paths sometimes. He's got good markers, and he might be a major league player someday, so just based off of that, I like him more than Mike K.