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From Arizona to Hawaii's North Shore: Houston Astros Minor League Update; 2008 Draft Expenditures

In the midst of all the fervor surrounding Drayton's unwillingness to dole out the money to sign a Ben Sheets type starter, Astros fans have good reason to be upset. I had to find a silver lining in all of this. Had to. The stars were aligned in my search- in the form of Baseball America's team by team Draft Expenditures for 2008. The Astros ranked a respectable 12th, adding nearly five million dollars to their 2007 level of spending. Being dead last in spending in the 2007 Draft sure looks bad, and it is. That tends to happen when a team can't sign some of their high round selections. We won't know for a few years whether or not this uptick will result in anything positive for the major league club, but at least we know that Drayton ponied up the cash in one area.

Props to Wes Wright, who the folks over at Baseball Analysts mentioned as a Rule V draftee who stuck on the big league club. The article also offers a refresher on the rules of the Rule V draft. This year's draft will be held December 11th.

Some notable Astro farmhands are already at work improving on solid 2008 regular seasons. The Arizona Fall League features eight minor leaguers from the Astros' system. The Scottsdale Scorpions' Astros minor league representatives are:

Pitchers:

Chris Blazek

Brad James

Bud Norris

Sergio Perez

Hitters:

Chris Johnson

Mark Ori

Drew Sutton

Brian Bogusevic

Odds and Ends from the AFL:

Drew Sutton leads the league in BA (.545). Sample size jumps off the page, but after looking at Sutton, it seems like he's the type of guy that the Astros should either give the opportunity to contribute in the next few seasons, or he'll be another Cody Ransom. His high OBP, and his up-tick in HR's in his second year at AA are some positives to factor in.

Chris Johnson has three doubles, five RBI, and sports a .333 BA of his own through seven team games

Bud Norris leads Astro farmhands in IP with 3.1- he's allowed four hits and one run

Obviously not much to go by yet, but I wanted to alert everyone to the news that I've come across during the early part of the season

On the other side of the world, 2008 First Round Selection, Jason Castro, is playing on the North Shore Honu in the Hawaii Winter Baseball League. Finding box scores and specific statistics have been hard in coming, but here are a few positive Castro tid-bits:

Castro collected an RBI single in yesterday's North Shore victory over The Waikiki Beach Boys (kickass name, right?)

Last Sunday, Castro went yard en route to collecting four hits, and raised his BA to .438