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Houston Astros Minor League Recap 5/16/13

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The Astros minor leagues split on Thursday, going 2-2 after an exciting beginning to the day, with George Springer on the bench with a virus, the RedHawks getting into Sacramento within hours of gametime, and Delino DeShields picking up a golden sombrero.

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Tandem Dive

Corpus Christi's starter, Ruben Alaniz, threw 80 pitches to get through 4.2 innings yesterday. We've been speculating that the Hooks may be nearing the end of their tandem rotation days. If that's the case and they switch to a five-man rotation, who would be included?

Mike Foltynewicz, Nick Tropeano, and Jake Buchanan are the obvious choices, unless Tropeano gets a call up to Oklahoma City. Bobby Doran, Ruben Alaniz, and David Martinez seem to be the next tier - so how do you handle that? Alaniz is a good bit younger, and might be used as a long reliever rather than being forced into the rotation. Another option would be to leave the fourth and fifth rotation spots as piggyback spots, changing it from an 8-man rotation to a 7-man rotation. For those who aren't as blessed at math as I obviously am, that would involve removing just one pitcher from the Hooks' current rotation.

His Name is Rio and He Hits Balls To The Stands...

Rio Ruiz. You know him. You love him. Steve Batterson of the QC Times wrote a nice article about Ruiz's comeback from an injury that took away most of his senior season and threatened to end his career. Batterson also had a piece this week about the Astros' use of Extended Spring Training to effectively grow the Quad Cities roster.

I'm a Zit. Get It? is hosting a Food Fight contest, which is trying to determine the minor leagues' best ballpark concession. You can click here to vote. A few Astros affiliates are in the competition, including Corpus Christi's The Babe, Quad Cities' Ridiculously Oversized Pork Tenderloin Sandwich, Oklahoma City's The Porker, and Lancaster's Grilled Tri-Tip Sandwich (which, seriously... yum.) Unfortunately, Quad Cities and Lancaster are up against one another, but Oklahoma City and Corpus Christi are in separate categories (there are four). I have to admit I wondered if there was a less-appealing sounding food than "Nolan Ryan Sausage on a Stick." Then I realized that there most definitely is: The "Richard Simmons Burger" in Ft. Myers. I think I've lost my appetite, thank you.


The Jethawks are on SoundCloud now. You can listen to highlights of Jason Schwartz's call during the 2012 California League Championship by clicking here.

Quad Stretching

Everyone's talking about Byron Buxton's walkoff grand slam, and rightfully so. But I've seen more than one person try to suggest that the Astros should feel bad about taking Carlos Correa instead of Buxton. First off, it's the friggin' Midwest League, people. Get a grip. Second of all, Correa is a full year younger, is playing in the same league, and is also hitting his own amount of snot off the ball.

Sure, it might not be as impressive as a walk-off grand slam, but this isn't so bad, now, is it?

Hawks Can't Fly

The Oklahoma City RedHawks had some issues getting to Sacramento in time for their game yesterday. Some weather delays and canceled flights left the team scrambling to get their players to the west coast, with players scheduled on three different flights, all with completely different routes. Four hours before first pitch, only eighteen Oklahoma City players had hit Sacramento. Eventually, everyone seems to have found their way to Raley Field in time for the game, but not until after a very long travel day. Rough start to a 13-game road trip, to be sure.

Sweep It Off

Today's Oklahoma City win put an end to a six-game losing streak to Sacramento that dated back to 2011. The River Cats were the only visiting team to get a sweep in Oklahoma City in 2012. The last time the RedHawks had beaten the River Cats, Oklahoma City's manager, Tony DeFrancesco, was managing Sacramento. While there, he compiled a 578-429 record and won six division titles and three PCL championships.

Jonathan Singleton Countdown

Jonathan Singleton was suspended fifty games before the beginning of the season. As near as I can tell, Jonathan Singleton is officially listed on the Corpus Christi Hooks roster. The Corpus Christi Hooks have played 40 games. It appears as if the big man will be activated just in time for the Hooks' road trip to Northwest Arkansas on May 28th. That puts us at 11 days and counting.

What Happened Was...

Oklahoma City RedHawks (AAA) - The travel difficulties may have affected the RedHawks a little bit, as they went down 1-0 in the first inning, but everyone settled in nicely, trailing just 2-1 after six innings. That's when things got fun. The RedHawks bullpen kept the Sacramento River Cats (OAK) from scoring any more runs as the offense ripped off 4 runs in the seventh and two more in the ninth (both on a Brett Wallace double.) Jonathan Villar had a particularly nice game, getting a single and a double and making some solid defensive plays, including a couple of really tough throws from the hole. Oakland's #6 prospect, Sonny Gray, took the loss in the 7-2 RedHawks victory.

Oklahoma City: 24-15, 1st Pacific Coast League American Southern

  • SS Jonathan Villar - 2/4, 2B, BB, K
  • 2B Andrew Simunic - 3/5, 2B, 2 R, 3 RBI
  • 1B Brett Wallace - 2/5, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 K
  • DH Fernando Martinez - 1/4, BB, 2 K
  • CF Che-Hsuan Lin - 1/3, R, BB
  • RF Austin Wates - 2/4, R
  • LHP Brett Oberholtzer - 4.1 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 95/54
  • LHP Alex Sogard - 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 2 WP, 24/11
  • RHP Josh Zeid - 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 24/12
  • RHP Rhiner Cruz - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 9/6
  • LHP Eric Berger - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 19/10
Corpus Christi Hooks (AA) - Ruben Alaniz kept the Hooks in the game as long as he could, throwing 80 pitches over 4.2 innings, but ultimately the Hooks offense couldn't get going. A three-run seventh inning helped cement the game for the San Antonio Missions (SDP), who won 6-2. One of the bright spots was Josh Fields, pitching in a rehab assignment, put together a clean sixth inning with a strikeout. He threw seven pitches to get through the inning, all of them strikes.

Corpus Christi: 23-17, 1st Texas League South
  • C Rene Garcia - 3/4, HR, R, RBI
  • RF Domingo Santana - 0/4, 3 K
  • DH Erik Castro - 1/3, RBI, BB
  • 3B Jonathan Meyer - 1/3, 2B, BB
  • SS Jiovanni Mier - 2/4, 2 2B, K
  • RHP Ruben Alaniz - 4.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, HBP, PO, 80/45
  • RHP Matthew Heidenreich - 0.1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 10/6
  • RHP Josh Fields - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 7/7
  • RHP Jorge De Leon - 3.0 IP, 2 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 2 K
Lancaster Jethawks (A+) - With a 5-4 lead going into the 8th inning, pitching in front of his "hometown" crowd (he's from Hanford, California, just 20 miles west), Tyson Perez ran into trouble. A leadoff walk and a double put two runners in scoring position with no outs in the eighth inning, and Michael Perez's weak grounder to Joe Sclafani allowed the first run to score. The go-ahead run came on a Perez wild pitch, and the Jethawks fell, 6-5, to the Visalia Rawhide (ARI).

Lancaster: 23-17, 2nd California League South (0.5 GB)
  • 2B Delino DeShields - 0/5, 4 K
  • SS Joe Sclafani - 2/4, 2B, 2 R, BB
  • CF Andrew Aplin - 2/3, 2 R, 2 BB, SB, PO
  • 3B Matt Duffy - 3/5, R, 3 RBI, 2 K
  • 1B Telvin Nash - 0/3, 2 BB, 2 K
  • C Tyler Heineman - 2/5, RBI, K
  • LHP David Rollins - 3 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 5 K
  • LHP Theron Geith - 2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 K
  • RHP Tyson Perez - 3 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, WP
Quad Cities River Bandits (A) - The rubber game of the series was a tight one, highlighted by awkward defense. I encourage you to read Marco LaNave's gamer to get the full idea of the oddity that this game became. The important part here is that Colton Cain, Mike Hauschild, and John Neely combined to limit the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (MIL) to a single run, and the offense scored just enough in an error-filled fifth inning to overcome, 3-1, despite not getting a single extra base hit in the game.

Quad Cities: 23-16, 2nd Midwest League Western (4.0 GB)
  • SS Carlos Correa - 1/4, RBI
  • DH Miles Hamblin - 1/3, RBI, BB, K
  • C Roberto Pena - 0/4, 2 K
  • RF Ariel Ovando - 2/4, K
  • LF Jordan Scott - 1/3, R, BB, K, E
  • LHP Colton Cain - 4.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 60/40
  • RHP Mike Hauschild - 3.2 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 44/32
  • RHP John Neely - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 26/13