Houston Astros Minor League Recap: 7/4/13

Independence Day, aka Mark Appel Day Eve, brings a mixed bag for the Astros minors, with some dominant pitching in the Gulf Coast League, a rare loss for Tri-City in the New York-Penn League, and a Greeneville team that just keeps winning.

The Appellate Court

Today is Mark Appel Day in Tri-City, and he celebrated early with his first presser:

Other 1-1 Options

Somehow, I missed this until now, but MiLB.com has a page where you can check in on a lot of the top picks. It's kind of an odd little page, full of bizarre bios, like:

Notes: Missed 2012 season, overcame testicular cancer; signed 6/12; debuted 6/22with AZL Padres

Learning the Astros Way

Through 264 plate appearances with the Tennessee Smokies (CHC), Ronald Torreyes struck out just 15 times, for a 5.7% K-rate. Since being traded to the Astros for their #2 and #3 IFA slot amounts, he's now struck out once in five plate appearances, for a 20% K-rate. Is it too late to send him back? (I kid, I kid.)

Whitewall Ninja

This has absolutely nothing to do with the Houston Astros, but this story about the "Whitewall Ninja" is simultaneously 1) One of those things that makes the minor league freaking amazing, and 2) One of the most ridiculous things I've ever read, and at least a little insane.

It's a Major Award

Weekly awards went out for the top hitters and pitchers at each league, and in the New York-Penn League, Tri-City's Dan Gulbransen took home the honors after going .500/.517/.821 through 7 games, with 2 home runs, 8 RBI, 8 runs, one walk, and two strikeouts. Gulbransen leads the NYPL in average, hits, and RBI.

Speaking of Awards...

The Astros named their players of the month for June for each of their minor league affiliates. A brief rundown:

Oklahoma City: Jason Stoffel (15.2 IP, 1-0, 1.72 ERA, 13 K), Jonathan Villar (.309, 5 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 15 R, 12 SB).

Corpus Christi: Davis Martinez (30.2 IP, 2-2, 2.35 ERA, 24 K), Jonathan Meyer (.280, 8 2B, 5 HR, 20 RBI).

Lancaster: Luis Cruz (32 IP, 3-1, 1.97 ERA, 40 K), MP Cokinos (.392, 10 2B, 3 HR, 25 RBI).

Quad Cities: Colton Cain (23.1 IP, 1-0, 2.31 ERA, 16 K), Carlos Correa (.370, 6 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 19 R).

DSL Astros: Elieser Hernandez (26.0 IP, 0.69 ERA, 23 K), Hector Roa (.279, 5 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR).

The Sixth Man

The Jethawks' six-man rotation has been officially named: David Rollins, Luis Cruz, Thomas Shirley, Aaron West, Brady Rogers, and Tyson Perez.

Quad Cities Six

Hat tip to our indefatigable editor, Tim De Block, for catching this: Quad Cities is getting rid of the tandem roation. Colton Cain, Lance McCullers, Vincent Velasquez, Juan Minaya, Jordan Jankowski, and Mike Hauschild will have the honors of the six-man rotation.

What Happened Was...

Oklahoma City RedHawks (AAA) - While RedHawks First Baseman was blasting the ball in the big leagues, the RedHawks themselves turned to good old-fashioned pitching to get the job done against the New Orleans Zephyrs (MIA). Last year, the RedHawks batted around in the eight inning to fend off the Zephyrs by a single run, 10-9. This year, there were fewer offensive fireworks, though the result was the same: A one-run win by the RedHawks (2-1). After walking eleven Albuquerque batters on July 3rd, the Oklahoma City staff combined to strike out eleven Zephyrs this time around, all while allowing a single run on three hits and one walk.

Oklahoma City: 47-40, 3rd (1.5 GB) - Pacific Coast League American Southern

  • LF Robbie Grossman: 2/3, R, BB, SB
  • SS Jonathan Villar - 1/1, 2B, 2 BB
  • CF George Springer - 2/4, RBI, K, 2 SB
  • 2B Marwin Gonzalez - 0/4, 2 K
  • 1B Jonathan Singleton - 0/4, 3 K, E
  • RHP Brad Peacock - 6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K
  • RHP Hector Ambriz - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
  • RHP Jose Valdez - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
  • RHP Josh Zeid - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
Corpus Christi Hooks (AA) - Ruben Alaniz pitched seven shutout innings before handing the ball to the bullpen, but Pat Urckfitz and Jorge De Leon each gave up a run, and with the Corpus Christi offense set on neutral, striking out thirteen times in nine innings and only mustering one run, the Hooks fell to the Springfield Cardinals (STL), 2-1. Xavier Scruggs hit his 21st home run of the year, a solo shot off of De Leon for the walkoff win. Congratulations to #9 hitter Drew Muren, literally the only Hooks batter not to strike out at least once in this game.

Corpus Christi: 5-9, 4th (3.0 GB) - Texas League South
  • 2B Ronald Torreyes - 1/5, K
  • C Rene Garcia - 2/4, 2B, RBI, K
  • 1B Erik Castro - 1/3, 2B, BB, 2 K
  • RF Domingo Santana - 0/3, 3 K, HBP
  • LF Preston Tucker - 0/2, 2 BB, K
  • 3B Jonathan Meyer - 0/4, 2 K
  • CF Drew Muren - 1/4, R
  • RHP Ruben Alaniz - 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 2 HBP
  • LHP Pat Urckfitz - 0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0 K
  • RHP Jorge De Leon - 0.1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
Lancaster Jethawks (A+) - Telvin Nash homered for the first time since June 26th, this one a three-run shot to cap off a four-run first inning for the Jethawks. Lancaster kept rolling from there, racking up six more runs over the five put up by the Inland Empire 66ers (LAA) to win, 10-5.

Lancaster: 12-3, 1st - California League South
  • 2B Delino DeShields - 3/5, 2 R, HBP
  • SS Nolan Fontana - 2/3, 2B, 2 R, RBI, 3 BB, K
  • CF Andrew Aplin - 1/5, R, 2 RBI, BB
  • 1B MP Cokinos - 1/5, R, 2 RBI, BB, K
  • DH Telvin Nash - 3/5, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, BB, K
  • 3B Matt Duffy - 1/6, 3 K, E
  • RF Chris Epps - 2/4, 2B, BB
  • C Ryan McCurdy - 0/2, R, BB, K, 2 HBP
  • LHP Luis Cruz - 5.2 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, BK
  • RHP Cameron Lamb - 1.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
  • LHP Theron Geith - 0.0 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 0 K, WP
  • RHP Travis Ballew - 1.2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
Quad Cities River Bandits (A) - The River Bandits brought a five-game winning streak to the Kane County Cougars (CHC) on July 4, but they just couldn't get things going, as they fell behind early thanks to a 3-run first inning by Kane County, and couldn't make up the difference. A two-run top of the ninth made the score look a little better at 7-4, but this one was awfully ugly for the good guys.

Quad Cities: 10-4, 3rd (2.0 GB) - Midwest League Western
  • CF Teoscar Hernandez - 2/5, 2B, R, 2 RBI, K
  • RF Jordan Scott - 0/5, 2 K
  • SS Carlos Correa - 1/5, SB
  • 1B Jesse Wierzbicki - 3/4, R, RBI, 2 SB
  • LF Dan Gulbransen - 0/2, 2 BB, K
  • DH Terrell Joyce - 0/4, 3 K
  • C Jobduan Morales - 0/2, R, RBI, 2 BB
  • RHP Juan Minaya - 3.0 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 2 K, WP, 2 HBP
  • LHP Mitchell Lambson - 3.0 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, HBP
  • RHP Jamaine Cotton - 2.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, K
Tri-City ValleyCats (A-) - For completely personal and illogical reasons, I really hate the Lowell Spinners (BOS). So when they come to Troy to face a Tri-City lineup that's mashing - even since the promotion of Dan Gulbransen - I expect carnage. Destruction. Mayhem. Unfortunately, there was very little of that for the good guys, as Tri-City accounted for nine hits but only a single one for extra bases, to go along with only one walk in the game. Kevin Comer struggled on the mound, allowing six hits and two walks, but he did strike out five in his 3.1 innings of work. Charles Basford, Evan Grills, and Richard Rodriguez fared better in relief, but the damage was done as Tri-City fell, 4-2. One silver lining: Next, the Spinners will need to take on first-overall draft pick, Mark Appel. Go get 'em, Mark.

Tri-City: 12-6, 1st - New York-Penn League Stedler
  • CF James Ramsay - 2/4, R, K
  • RF Ronnie Mitchell - 1/4, 2B
  • 3B Ryan Dineen - 1/3, BB
  • SS Chan Moon - 2/3, SB
  • RHP Kevin Comer - 3.1 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K
  • RHP Charles Basford - 1.2 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
  • LHP Evan Grills - 2.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
  • RHP Richard Rodriguez - 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
Greeneville Astros (Rk) - Not so very long ago, I said some fairly disparaging things about the Greeneville Astros, but I mentioned that they themselves didn't seem to know or care that they're not very good. They've gone out and proven exactly that by reeling off a club record seven-game winning streak. Christopher Lee, who was scheduled to start the game, actually entered in the second after a rain delay led to Sebastian Kessay getting the nod. All Lee did after entering the game was pitch five shutout innings, giving up two hits and striking out seven of the sixteen batters he faced - neither he nor any other G'ville pitcher walked a single batter the entire game. Bobby Borchering was on hand, as well, and he crushed a solo homerun. Astros win, 2-1.

Greeneville: 8-5, 2nd (2.0 GB) - Appalachian League West
  • LF Tanner Mathis - 1/4, R, K
  • 2B Juan Santana - 0/4, 2 K
  • CF Marc Wik - 0/2, 2 BB
  • 3B Darwin Rivera - 1/3, RBI, BB, E
  • 1B Bobby Borchering - 1/3, HR, R, RBI, BB
  • RF Ariel Ovando - 0/4, K
  • DH Edwin Gomez - 0/2, BB, K
  • C Alfredo Gonzalez - 0/3, BB, 3 K, CS, 2 E
  • SS Jack Mayfield - 1/3, 2B, BB, K
  • LHP Sebastian Kessay - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
  • LHP Christopher Lee - 5.0 IP, 2 H. 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K
  • RHP Krishawn Holley - 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
  • RHP Tyler Brunnemann - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
  • LHP J.D. Osborne - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
GCL Astros (Rk) - Thanks to a few rainouts earlier this week, fan(s) were treated to an Independence Day doubleheader between the Astros and Yankees (NYY). In game 1, we got our first look at one of my favorite guys, Gosuke Katoh - the Yankees' second round pick in the 2013 Draft, who's hitting .348 so far in his young career. Katoh had one of the Yankees' four hits in this one, but Joe Bircher & Co. combined to strike out 11 hitters, walking just one, and allowing a single (unearned) run in a 3-1 victory.
  • CF Jason Martin - 1/3, 2B, R, BB, K, CS
  • 2B Alex Gonzalez - 1/2, 2 BB, CS
  • DH Jean Batista - 2/4, R, RBI
  • 3B Tyler White - 1/4, 2B, RBI
  • SS Luis Reynoso - 1/3, K
  • 1B Yonathan Mejia - 2/3, HR, R, RBI
  • C Jacob Nottingham - 1/2, BB
  • RF Luis De La Rosa - 0/3, K
  • LF Javaris Reynolds - 0/3, K
  • LHP Joe Bircher - 2.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
  • LHP Ambiorix De Leon - 5.2 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K
  • RHP Erick Gonzalez - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
If Game 1 was good, Game 2 was better, as Astros pitchers Agapito Barrios and Troy Scribner absolutely shut the Yankees down, striking out 13 and walking none, allowing three hits and one run. Multi-hit games from Jason Martin, Alex Gonzalez, and Yonathan Mejia - who, all told, had a really great twinbill - paced the offense in the 5-1 win.

GCL Astros: 7-3, 2nd (0.5 GB) - Gulf Coast League Northeast
  • CF Jason Martin - 2/4, 2 R
  • 2B Alex Gonzalez - 2/4, 2 R, K, E
  • 1B Yonathan Mejia - 2/4, 2B, 2 RBI
  • 3B Tyler White - 1/4, RBI
  • DH Jacob Nottingham - 1/3, 2B, BB, K
  • C Brett Booth - 0/3, K, HBP
  • RF Ydarqui Marte - 0/4, K
  • SS Yoel Silfa - 1/3, E
  • LF Javaris Reynolds - 0/2, R, K, HBP
  • RHP Agapito Barrios - 5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 K
  • RHP Troy Scribner - 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K
DSL Astros (Rk) - The game was suspended due to rain. No makeup has been announced yet.
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