Houston Astros Minor League Recap: 7/1/14

USA TODAY Sports

A handful of Astros affiliates didn't play Oakland affiliates.

Erik Castro - Lost in the shuffle of all of the big league promotions yesterday was the release of Oklahoma City first baseman Erik Castro. Medical issues caused Castro to move first from catcher to third base, and then to first. Unfortunately, there's not a lot of room for error over there, and with Marc KraussJoe Sclafani, and Matt Duffy vying for playing time, Castro went the way of guys like Rafy Valenzuela and Jesse Wierzbicki.

Meanwhile, Castro's San Diego State University teammate and fellow Astros minor league first baseman Brandon Meredith was moved up to Corpus Christi. After raking in Lancaster in 2013, Meredith was re-assigned to the High-A California League while he transitioned from the outfield to first base. His bat hasn't spoken as loudly this year so far, causing some to wonder if he might not be like a student who gets poor grades because he isn't being challenged. With Conrad Gregor firmly-established in the Jethawks lineup, this could be a "challenge promotion" for the former sixth-rounder, signalling that it's sink-or-swim time for both Meredith and the Hooks' incumbent first baseman, Telvin Nash.

Other moves around the system:

  • Catcher Ryan McCurdy activated onto the Oklahoma City roster.
  • Right-hander Lance McCullers, the Astros' #4 prospect, was activated from the 15-day Disabled List.
  • Shortstop Dayne Parker was promoted from Tri-City (A-) to Quad Cities (A).

I'm a Zit, Get It? - The Minor League Baseball Food Fight is back on, and you can vote here for several Astros affiliates' in-house cuisine, including Oklahoma City's Hong Kong Burger (currently ranked #53) and Quad Cities' Chocolate-Covered Bacon (currently ranked #55).

Unlike past seasons, dished this year aren't broken up into groups. Instead, everything - from Beer Shakes to Crab Cakes - is lumped together in one giant free-for-all. Put the eggs on top.

Strong competitors this year include Round Rock's Grilled Cheese Hot Dog, Lansing's Pulled Pork Parfait (what?), Erie's PhillyBurger, Frisco's Deep-Fried Oreo Sundae, and Myrtle Beach's Chicken and Waffle Bites (somehow, Asheville's Deep-Fried Moon Pie isn't faring very well.) Perhaps most curious is this strange, exotic entry:

Chattanooga_medium

What demented scientist/foodie lab rat dreamed up that concoction!?!

What Happened Was...

Oklahoma City Redhawks (AAA) - Colorado Springs Sky Sox (COL) 9, Oklahoma City RedHawks 7.

Ronny Torreyes went 0-for-5 with a strikeout, which is really rare enough that it bears mentioning. Marc Krauss went 0-for-4 with a walk and two strikeouts, which is less surprising. Every other RedHawks batter got a hit, including Matt Duffy, who hit his second triple in the Pacific Coast League. Unfortunately, those twelve hits don't mean a lot when the other team has fourteen, including eight off of starter David Martinez, who also walked three and struck out two while allowing eight runs over four innings. Five of the RedHawks' seven runs came in the seventh and eighth innings, threatening to make this one close, but an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth would prove to be more than Colorado Springs needed.

Oklahoma City: 45-41, 2nd - Pacific Coast League American North (2.0 GB)

  • CF Robbie Grossman - 1/4, 2 RBI, HBP, 2 K
  • RF Austin Wates - 1/2, RBI, 2 BB, CS
  • 1B Marc Krauss - 0/4, R, BB, 2 K
  • 3B Matt Duffy - 1/4, 3B, RBI, BB, 2 K
  • LF Preston Tucker - 1/4, 2B, R, RBI, BB, K
  • SS Ronny Torreyes - 0/5, K
  • DH Max Stassi - 3/5, 2B, 2 R, K
  • C Carlos Perez - 4/5, 2 R, RBI
  • 2B Joe Sclafani - 1/3, R, BB
  • RHP David Martinez - 4.0 IP, 11 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, WP, 79/45 Pit/Str, 4/3 GO/FO
  • RHP Andrew Robinson - 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 28/21 Pit/Str, 2/1 GO/FO
  • LHP Pat Urckfitz - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 15/10 Pit/Str, 1/0 GO/FO
  • RHP Jason Stoffel - 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 11/8 Pit/Str, 2/1 GO/FO

Corpus Christi Hooks (AA) - Off Day

Corpus Christi: 4-8, 4th - Texas League South (4.0 GB)

Lancaster Jethawks (A+) - Stockton Ports (OAK) 7, Lancaster Jethawks 5.

[Ed. Note: I was recently accused on Twitter of wasting space talking about "org guys" like Chan Moon and Conrad Gregor. Therefore, I have redacted all names who do not appear in the Houston Astros' Top 20 Prospects list on MLB.com]

The only thing that made this an atypical game at the Hangar was the fact that it was played at Banner Island Ballpark in Stockton, where four home runs is a bit more atypical. Unfortunately, three of those home runs came off of the Ports' bats, with RXXX HXXXX, DXXXXX RXXXXXXXX, and RXXXXX NXXXX joining DXX GXXXXXXXXX in the four-bagger fun. All three Stockton dingers came off of KXXX EXXXXXX, the lefty taken in the third round of the 2013 draft by Houston. Also of note in this game: The return of Lance McCullers, Jr. from the Disable List. McCullers started the game with a scoreless frame, striking out one and walking one before giving way to EXXXXXX. Still, the Jethawks bats didn't go away, scoring runs in five of the first seven innings, giving MXXX HXXXXXXXXXX a narrow 5-4 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth. It was close. So close. Unfortunately, like the Ghostbusters, it was too hot to handle; too cold to hold. And HXXXXXXXXXX didn't hold it, allowing three runs in a fitful eighth inning.

Lancaster: 4-8, 4th - California League South (7.0 GB)

  • SS CXXX MXXX - 1/5, R, K
  • CF Teoscar Hernandez - 3/4, 2B, R, RBI
  • 1B CXXXXX GXXXXX - 1/4, 2B, R, BB
  • 3B Rio Ruiz - 1/4, 2 RBI
  • C RXXXXXX PXXX - 0/4, 2 K
  • DH DXXX GXXXXXXXXX - 2/4, HR, R, RBI, 2 K
  • RF Danry Vasquez - 1/3, BB, K
  • 2B JXXX MXXXXXXX - 0/4
  • LF TXXXXX MXXXXX - 0/4, R, K
  • RHP Lance McCullers, Jr. - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1/0 GO/FO
  • LHP KXXX EXXXXXX - 4.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 3/2 GO/FO
  • RHP MXXX HXXXXXXXXXX - 3.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 2/3 GO/FO

Quad Cities River Bandits (A) - Quad Cities River Bandits 3, Beloit Snappers (OAK) 1.

Brian Holberton hit his sixth home run of the season. Brett Phillips hit his fifth home run of the season. They were both solo shots, but together, they accounted for enough offense to put the River Bandits over the Snappers, thanks to an excellent outing by Michael Feliz, who struck out seven batters in as many innings, while walking just one, allowing four hits, and one (unearned) run. Phillips' jack was a ninth-inning shot off of 2013 fifth-rounder Bobby Wahl that gave the River Bandits a comfortable two-run cushion, which Frederick Tiburcio had no trouble holding onto. Tiburcio went two innings, striking out three and not allowing a single baserunner to earn his fifth save of the season in just his eleventh appearance. In nineteen innings, the right-hander has struck out twenty-seven batters and walked just three, allowing just one earned run and a .123 average against. His ERA stands at 0.47 on the season, and his WHIP at 0.579.

Quad Cities: 6-6, 5th - Midwest League Western (3.5 GB)

  • CF James Ramsay - 1/4, R
  • 3B Marc Wik - 0/4, K
  • RF Brett Phillips - 2/4, 3B, HR, R, RBI
  • 1B Chase McDonald - 0/3, BB, 2 K
  • LF Jon Kemmer - 0/4, 2 K
  • 2B Jose Fernandez - 0/4, 2 K, SB, E
  • DH Brian Holberton - 1/3, HR, R, RBI, BB, K
  • C Jake Rodriguez - 1/3, K
  • SS Thomas Lindauer - 0/3
  • RHP Michael Feliz - 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, WP, 7/6 GO/FO
  • RHP Frederick Tiburcio - 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 1/1 GO/FO

Tri-City ValleyCats (A-) - Tri-City ValleyCats 12, Vermont Lake Monsters (OAK) 4.

The ValleyCats got off to a big start, putting two runs on the board in the top of the first inning. Then, they got off to a big middle, too, by putting up two more runs in the sixth, three in the seventh, and three more in the eighth. Ariel Ovando and Nick Tanielu contributed by hitting their first home runs of the season, and Tanielu piled on by adding two doubles, equaling his season total heading into the game. Altogether, five different ValleyCats hitters had multi-hit nights, including J.D. Davis, the Astros' 2014 third-round pick. Meanwhile, Troy Scribner, Jeffrey Gause, and Vince Wheeland each allowed just one earned run (though Scribner threw in an unearned for good measure), and the trio combined to strike out seven Lake Monsters, against just three walks. Scribner, in particular, was in fine form, striking out five and walking none over five innings - all eight batted-ball outs were recorded on grounders. And the three hits he allowed? A home run, a grounder up the middle, and an RBI triple on a line drive. Literally two fly balls the entire game.

Tri-City: 12-7, 1st - New York-Penn League Stedler

  • CF Bobby Boyd - 2/6, R, K, E
  • LF Ryan Bottger - 1/4, BB, CS
  • PH/LF Jose Solano - 1/1, 2B, RBI
  • 3B J.D. Davis - 2/4, 3 R, BB, HBP, K, E
  • PR/2B Alex Hernandez - 0/0
  • 1B A.J. Reed - 0/3, 2 R, BB, HBP
  • PH/C Alfredo Gonzalez - 0/1
  • 2B/3B Nick Tanielu - 4/5, 2 2B, HR, 3 R, 4 RBI, K
  • DH Terrell Joyce - 2/4, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB, K
  • RF Ariel Ovando - 2/5, HR, R, 3 RBI
  • C/1B Jamie Ritchie - 0/4, BB, K
  • SS Mott Hyde - 0/4, BB, K, E
  • RHP Troy Scribner - 5.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 8 GO/FO
  • RHP Jeffrey Gause (is he Jeffrey? Is he Jay? I don't know!!!) - 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 2/2 GO/FO
  • RHP Vince Wheeland - 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, WP, 3/1 GO/FO

Greeneville Astros (Rk) - Greeneville Astros 4, Kingsport Mets (NYM) 3.

There have been some unpleasant rumblings lately about Jacob Nottingham. The 2013 sixth-rounder has generated some complaints about his noisiness behind the plate, and his lack of noisiness at the plate this season. He was able to silence at least the latter for a while, with his first home run of the season, and added his first stolen base to the mix, as well. He joined the 1/1 club with a line drive home run to center field, giving the Astros a 3-0 lead. They'd add another run in the sixth, and that's when the Kingsport offense woke up. After Keeghan Yuhl and Dean Deetz had shut them down, allowing three hits, four walks, and four strikeouts over five innings, Brock Dykxhoorn came in and the Mets went right after him, scoring three runs in the sixth and seventh. Aaron Greenwood was able to slam the door in the eighth, and a perfect ninth by Zach Davis earned the lefty his first save of his professional career - over a week after earning the first win of his professional career in his only other outing of the season.

Greeneville: 5-8, 4th - Appalachian League West (3.5 GB)

  • CF Jason Martin - 0/4, R, BB, K
  • SS Juan Santana - 3/5, 2 2B, R, 2 E
  • LF Sean McMullen - 2/4, HBP, CS
  • C Trent Woodward - 0/3, BB, K
  • 1B Yonathan Mejia - 0/4, 2 K
  • DH Jacob Nottingham - 1/3, HR, R, RBI, BB, K, SB
  • 3B Luis Reynoso - 2/4, 2B, R, 2 K, CS
  • RF Ramon Laureano - 0/4, 2 K
  • 2B Antonio Nunez - 1/3, 2B, RBI, BB, K
  • RHP Keegan Yuhl - 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, WP, 4/1 GO/FO
  • RHP Dean Deetz - 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 3/2 GO/FO
  • RHP Brock Dykxhoorn - 2.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 2/1 GO/FO
  • RHP Aaron Greenwood - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 2/0 GO/FO
  • LHP Zach Davis - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 2/0 GO/FO

GCL Astros (Rk) - GCL Astros 2, GCL Phillies 1.

Kyle Weiland pitched in this game. The Astros won. Do I really need to say anything else?

Okay, there's one thing. In both of Weiland's games this season, he's paired with Colton Cain. I don't know if that's newsworthy, but it appears that the two rehab guys are forming a mini-tandem of sorts, with Weiland only throwing one inning in each of the games.

Okay, one other thing. In seven games since being called up from the DSL, 5'9" center fielder Osvaldo Duarte is slashing an unreal .448/.484/.552/1.036. Small sample size, of course, but not bad for a seven-game stretch. Part of Houston's well-regarded 2013 IFA class, he's approximately two days from being at the top of Jose de Jesus Ortiz's "why isn't he in the majors?" list.

GCL Astros: 5-5, 2nd - Gulf Coast League Northeast (1.0 GB)

  • CF Osvaldo Duarte - 2/4, 2B, R, SB
  • 2B Jean Estrella - 1/3, SB
  • LF Brauly Mejia - 0/4, K, CS
  • DH Hector Roa - 1/3, 2 K
  • 1B Jake Bowey - 0/3, K
  • SS Kristian Trompiz - 1/3, SB
  • C Brian Pena - 1/2, R, PB
  • 3B Arturo Michelena - 1/3, 2B, RBI, 2 K
  • RF Alexander Melendez - 0/2
  • LHP Colton Cain - 3.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, HBP, 2/1 GO/FO
  • RHP Kyle Weiland - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1/1 GO/FO
  • RHP Harold Arauz (is this pronounced the way I think it is??) - 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 4/1 GO/FO
  • RHP Justin Ferrell - 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 0/2 GO/FO

DSL Astros Orange (FRk) - DSL Astros Orange 7, DSL Cubs (CHC) 4.

DSL Astros Orange: 11-16, 6th - Dominican Summer League Boca Chica North (12.0 GB)

  • CF Vicente Sanchez - 2/3, 2 RBI, BB, SB
  • SS Marcos Almonte - 0/5, 4 K
  • 2B Frankeny Fernandez - 0/3, R, BB, K
  • 3B Cristopher Luciano - 1/3, R, BB, 2 K
  • LF Luis Vasquez - 1/4, 2 K
  • C Gabriel Bracamonte - 2/3, 3B, R, HBP, E
  • PR Juan Fuentes - 0/0, R
  • C Ihan Bernal - 0/0
  • RF Bryan De La Cruz - 3/3, 2 R, 2 RBI, SB
  • 1B Jesus Bermejo - 1/4, 2B
  • DH Wilson Amador - 1/3, R, RBI, HBP
  • RHP Edgardo Sandoval - 4.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, HBP, 3/2 GO/FO
  • LHP Yhoan Acosta - 4.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 2/3 GO/FO
  • RHP Bryan Abreu - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 2/3 GO/FO

DSL Astros Blue (FRk) - DSL Astros Blue 10, DSL Athletics (OAK) 3.

DSL Astros Blue: 13-14, 4th - Dominican Summer League Boca Chica Northwest

  • DH Rodrigo Ayarza - 1/6, R, K
  • PR/DH Anardo Peralta - 0/0, R
  • 2B Jonathan Matute - 0/4, 2 R, 2 BB, K
  • 3B Wander Franco - 3/4, 3 R, RBI 2 BB, K
  • 1B Connor MacDonald - 3/5, R, RBI, BB
  • SS Joan Mauricio - 2/5, 3 RBI, BB, 2 K, E
  • LF Jose Benjamin - 2/5, 2B, 2 RBI, BB, 2 K
  • RF Nestor Tejada - 0/5, RBI, BB, 2 K
  • C Carlos Canelon - 2/4, R, BB
  • CF Andy Pineda - 0/4, R, 2 K
  • LHP Carlos Hiraldo - 4.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 2 WP, HBP, 5/3 GO/FO
  • RHP Jose Rosario - 1.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, WP, HBP, 1/1 GO/FO
  • RHP Juan Cuevas - 2.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 2/1 GO/FO
  • LHP Luis Arias - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, HBP, 1/0 GO/FO
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